Speed Reads

Rich Irony

Can Mike Bloomberg buy ironic meme glory? Yes, he can.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg "has been pouring millions of dollars into Facebook and its sibling app, Instagram, since he jumped into the Democratic presidential race, easily outpacing the Trump campaign," the "reigning king of the social media realm," David Ingram reported at NBC News Wednesday morning. "It remains to be seen how the buttoned-up former mayor will fare on social media, an arena that favors unscripted moments, outrage, inside jokes, and memes." By Wednesday night we had the answer: He's doing great.

"Bloomberg has contracted some of the biggest meme-makers on the internet to post sponsored content on Instagram promoting his presidential campaign," working with a new company, Meme 2020, The New York Times reported late Wednesday. The lead strategist of Meme 2020 is Mick Purzycki, the CEO of Jerry Media, "a powerful force in the influencer economy," the Times notes. The influencers involved in the project collectively have more than 60 million followers, and the participating accounts "all posted Bloomberg campaign ads in the form of fake direct messages from the candidate."

View this post on Instagram

It’s Saturday night so I’m about to get nuts and drink an extra large soda. (And yes this is sponsored by @Mikebloomberg)

A post shared by Tank.Sinatra (@tank.sinatra) on Feb 8, 2020 at 4:49pm PST

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Shitheadsteve (@shitheadsteve) on Feb 12, 2020 at 5:49pm PST

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by FUCKJERRY (@fuckjerry) on Feb 12, 2020 at 5:19pm PST

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sonny Side Up (@sonny5ideup) on Feb 12, 2020 at 5:09pm PST

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @grapejuiceboys on Feb 12, 2020 at 4:39pm PST

"All of the ads posted so far feature disclosures that they are ads, though many followers assumed that the posts were satirical," the Times reports. Reaction in the "meme community" has been mixed, with some followers accusing the participating influencers of selling out and "several large Instagram memers" expressing interest in getting in on the sweet Bloomberg cash. "I would be down — bread is bread," said the teenager behind the meme page @BigDadWhip. "That would be kind of dope. I could say I helped a presidential candidate." Read more at The New York Times. Peter Weber