Continue Reading Below
The 77-year-old billionaire has tapped Meme 2020, a company created by the chief executive of Jerry Media, to post sponsored content on Instagram promoting his 2020 bid, according to The New York Times.
Jerry Media, headed by Mick Purzycki, is best known for running a popular meme page, famous for viral memes and “curating” jokes to its nearly 15 million followers on Instagram. The company now employs dozens of people and charges tens of thousands of dollars to post memes for brands -- or presidential candidates. It’s also been accused of lifting material for years.
The campaign launched this week and has already placed sponsored posts on multiple Instagram accounts, including @GrapeJuiceBoys, which boasts more 2.7 million followers; @Tank.Sinatra, with 2.3 million followers on Instagram; and Jerry Media's most popular account.
All of the ads appear as fake messages from Bloomberg asking for help to make him the “cool candidate,” and include a disclosure that “yes this is really #sponsored by @mikebloomberg.”
"Mr. Tank," one of them begins. "I've been waiting for my meme for so long that i learned how to make memes myself in photoshop. What do you think of this one." The message is followed by a photo of Bernie Sanders that has become a meme in recent weeks.
“It’s the most successful ad that I’ve ever posted,” Evan Reeves, a creative director for Jerry Media who was brought in to build a self-aware ironic character around Bloomberg, told the Times. “And I think a lot of it came from people being confused whether or not it was real.”
Last week, The Daily Beast reported that Bloomberg’s campaign was offering social media influencers $150 to create original content about why they love the three-time New York City mayor.
“Mike Bloomberg 2020 has teamed up with social creators to collaborate with the campaign, including the meme world,” a Bloomberg spokesperson told the Times. “While a meme strategy may be new to presidential politics, we’re betting it will be an effective component to reach people where they are and compete with President Trump’s powerful digital operation.”
Still, Bloomberg has come under criticism for using his massive $60 billion fortune to self-fund his own campaign, with political opponents, including Democrats and Trump, accusing him of trying to buy the election.
Already, he’s spent a staggering $344 million on ads, according to Advertising Analytics, a spending feat that’s begun to pay off. According to an average of polls by RealClearPolitics, Bloomberg surged to third nationally this month.