nrcc-printouts

GOP Group Says Twitter Campaign Sabotage Was Expected

  |  June 8, 2012   |  Comments

Despite "Weedlord" pranks, Republican group calls #IWantRepeal campaign a success.

nrcc-printoutsThe National Republican Congressional Committee caught flak for a Twitter petition campaign pushing for repeal of the Obama administration's healthcare reform law. However, while snarky sites like Wonkette and Gawker mocked the effort for easily falling prey to Internet trolls, the NRCC considers the first leg of the campaign a success. The organization - dedicated to strengthening the Republican majority in the House of Representatives - said the campaign should reap at least 4,000 good emails once fake petition signers are weeded out ("Weedlord Bonerhitler" being one of them).

The NRCC plans to continue the campaign in the near future, according to recently-hired digital director Gerrit Lansing, who said the effort launched the committee's messaging around the impending Supreme Court decision on the healthcare law.

"Plans are being worked out, but we'll be launching again," said Lansing of the campaign.

Yesterday, the NRCC launched the @NRCCPrinter Twitter account and the I Want Repeal Tumblr, hubs for an anti-healthcare reform petition campaign propelled by the #IWantRepeal Twitter hashtag. Signers could also watch as their petitions flowed through the NRCC printer via a Ustream account.

"Obamacare is wrong for me, wrong for my family and wrong for the USA," stated the petition.

Not surprising, pranksters - many prompted by a Wonkette "Homework Assignment" to "Spam GOP's Anti-Healthcare Reform Livestream Thing Immediately" posted at 6:55 p.m. June 7 - clogged the gears with phony signings featuring goofy and lewd names. Those names flooded through to Twitter postings associated with the hashtag. But before the campaign became tainted, it spurred a stream of seemingly legitimate petition signees and Twitter posts calling for repeal.

Supporters and jokesters alike can still sign the petition at IWantRepeal.Tumblr.com, though the live streaming printer has been shut down. According to Lansing, "a couple thousand" virtual signatures came in this morning, though the list will need to be filtered for moniker impurities.

Despite the hijacking, the campaign helped the NRCC add new email contacts at around $0.30 to $0.40 each, factoring in the cost of the campaign, said Lansing. The relatively low cost of such online petition efforts, which serve to generate fresh supporter contacts to later hit up for donations, have made them ubiquitous in the political and advocacy world.

Usage of the #IWantRepeal hashtag wasn't entirely organic. The NRCC bought three promoted posts on Facebook and Promoted Tweets on Twitter to propel the message and drive people to the petition.

"When your hashtag is taken over by the other side...at the end of the day they're having real conversations on your turf," suggested Lansing.

"If your hashtag and your rollout aren't worth taking over, it's not good enough to start in the first place," he added. In other words, if success of a partisan hashtag is based in part on its ability to facilitate virality, it is inherently subject to being commandeered by the other side - at least in a cutthroat political atmosphere.

"They're still using your message," said Lansing. "I expected it to be taken over and it was only a question of when." The former House Budget Committee press secretary was hired about a month ago to head up digital for the NRCC. "I was hired to be aggressive," said Lansing.

nrcc-iwantrepeal

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter. Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...
    • Product Specialist
      Product Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreDescription: The Product Specialist is hyper-focused on the customer experience and ensures that our...
    • Partnerships Senior Coordinator
      Partnerships Senior Coordinator (Zappos.com, Inc.) - Las VegasZappos IP, Inc. is looking for a Partnerships Senior Coordinator! Why join us? Our...