Matt Kibbe of Johnson-Supporting AlternativePAC Talks About Gawker Report on $30,000 Spent on “Internet Memes”

August 17th, 2016 by in News

This article was originally published on Reason.


Gawker reported yesterday, with a clear intention to make the reader think the whole thing is silly, that AlternativePAC, an uncoordinated PAC supporting the Libertarian Party presidential campaign of Gary Johnson and William Weld, spent $30,000 on “internet web memes.”

The PAC has, as of its last legal filing at the end of June, pulled in $530,100, with $500,000 of it from California tomato magnate Chris Rufer.

Matt Kibbe, who runs the PAC, stresses that what they were paying for with that $30,000 is more like short viral-ready internet videos than “memes” in the common internet sense of poster images with slogans. He defends that tactic for PACs trying to run lean, nimble, and most importantly meaningful campaigns in the modern age of social networking.

“The way social media works is to microtarget audiences and test things,” Kibbe said in a phone interview today. That $30,000 Gawker called attention to will result in “dozens” of such short videos over the next few months, using different imagery and different messages for different audiences, from “disaffected Sanders voters on war to disaffected Cruz voters on rule of law.”

AlternativePAC’s strategy will be to “leverage social media and make sure would-be libertarians in social space know Gary Johnson is on the ballot and understand what libertarianism is about. It doesn’t make any sense to run TV ads to connect to that audience” and it is that audience his PAC wants to reach, Kibbe says. “People who report on media buys” as if it’s still the 20th century and imply that mere “internet memes” are silly or pointless “don’t quite get that,” he says.

While Gawker claimed no such product yet existed, Kibbe directed me to his PACs website, where two of them can be found.

And here they are on YouTube, the first one saying a vote for Trump or Clinton puts blood on the voters’ hands:

The second has no specific policy point to make, but analogizes the major party choices to just two narrow flavors, and points out there is a third choice:

UPDATE: And what can videos on the internet win you? Why, the support of actress Melissa Joan “Sabrina/Clarissa” Hart. (Though not either of these specific AlternativePAC vids.)

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