Archives for posts with tag: Newt Gingrich


We all know the lesson President Obama’s campaign taught us in 2008: Social Media can be powerful and a game changer. 4 years have passed and almost everybody learned that lesson by now.

The 2012 primary season is in full swing and Social Media is not the hottest thing in town anymore (still important), but we learned a few more lessons in the last few months:

Behold, the power of earned media.

Gingrich’s campaign has been declared dead numerous times. He had no money to spend on ads, he had no organization and no support. 20 years ago he would have had no chance to make it to South Carolina, In 2012, he won South Carolina by a landslide.


Because he played earned/owned media platforms masterfully to create even more earned media. In a world filled with 24/7 new channels, Twitter feeds, blogs and other content platforms, the beast needs to be fed constantly. Gingrich did exactly that, coming up with new ideas, new messages, new proposals every day. It clearly shows the diminishing return of paid ads and the increasing power of earned/owned media supported by paid media.

Be agile.

This has been the strength of political advertising for a while: It’s agile. You say something controversial at 5pm, your opponent will exploit it by 6pm. The marketing world is still stuck in old, traditional production cycles and outdated timelines. Communication and conversations don’t start when your first ad launches – it’s ongoing. Brands need to be more agile and leave room in the budget to reply to a crisis, exploit the weakness of a competitor or tap into new consumer insights immediately.

Forget about standard formats

What was the most talked about creative so far in the primaries? Not a 30-second spot, a 728 x 180 banner or a 60-second radio spot. Nope. It was the 27-minute documentary, released by Gingrich’s Super PAC. The old standards just feel, well, old. People want variety: long-form documentaries, YouTube snacks, podcasts. Give them what they want.

Appeal to the heart.

2004 was about fear. 2008 about hope. 2012 will be about anger. The successful candidates in 2004 and 2008 appealed to emotions, not to the brain of the voters. Romney tried to play to the common sense of voters, being the technocrat that will fix what ails the economy. Gingrich tapped into the anger of people, being the angriest man in the room. Guess who’s leading the race today?

Take risks.

As the advertising and media world becomes more fractured, you take a huge risk when you don’t take risks. Tactics that worked in the past, proven ways, ideas by committee are maybe the riskiest paths you can take at this point. There’s a moment in every campaign when you have to take major risks or you’ll drop out quickly just like Tim Pawlenty. Dig deep and understand what your brand stands for. Then take risks and lead with your gut. It worked for Clinton, Bush and Obama. It will work for your brand.


A few weeks I wrote about “The Shanty Towns of Social Marketing”:

“It’s a world filled with anarchy, impenetrable walls that make it hard for people from the outside to see what’s going inside and it’s an unethical world. In this world, you can buy Facebook fans by the thousands. You can ask them to “like” your brand in exchange for goods. They give you options to download your pricey apps in exchange for credits. Need 10,000 more LinkedIn fans? That creepy guy with the fedora and mink coat can help you. Have to pump up your follower number on Twitter by 100,000? Enter the greasy door next to the red neon sign, flashing “Open”. It’s a shanty town comprised of people who work for improvised, unsustainable companies that might go out of business any day.

An island filled with bottom-feeders, preying on the innocent. And supporting the cynical and unethical marketers.”

Either Mr. Gingrich didn’t read my post (likely) or he read the post and got a “good” idea (unlikely): No matter what, it seems Mr. Gingrich and his team (allegedly) were buying fake  Twitter followers. PeekYou dug a little bit deeper and they concluded that just 8% of Newt Gingrich’s followers are real people.


I briefly glanced at Mr. Gingrich’s followers and, well, it doesn’t look good.

Screen shot 2011-08-02 at 4.34.02 PM

The egg screen of death.

What about Obama?

Screen shot 2011-08-02 at 4.44.56 PM

Some eggs but not as eggtastic as Newt. But that’s just silly me, having a glance.

PeekYou went even further and analyzed the GOP 2012 contenders for comparison: Still, 8% of Gingrich’s followers are real, 20% real followers for Sarah Palin and Pawlenty tops the chart with 32% real followers. (Allegedly.)

I’m glad this happened.

Not many people have written about the rotten eggs of Social Marketing. It finally sheds a bright light on this unethical practice. (Especially when you boast about the number of followers.)

Clearly, Mr. Gingrich uses the follower count to stroke his own ego and get attention/respect from the clueless press. That’s about it.

A high number of fans is meaningless if no one ever shares your stuff or does anything to advance your cause.

Who knows, this might be the beginning of the end for these silly services. It’s a definite wake-up call for agencies and their clients to have a second look at their Social Marketing strategy. Especially when all you see is the egg screen of death.