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Pro-Gary Johnson “Balanced Rebellion” Ad Viral Sensation of this Political Cycle

Alternative PAC, a superPAC supporting the campaign of Libertarian Gary Johnson, launched a project called “Balanced Rebellion” last month, as I reported. It was intended to help solve the problem of voters who, while disliking both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, didn’t want to feel that their third party vote helped make the one they hated more win.

The web site for the project and its Facebook page allows voters with a slight Trump preference to pledge to vote for Johnson and be matched with another voter from their state who had a slight Clinton preference, helping insure that a vote for Johnson wasn’t in effect a vote for the candidate they hated more, since they knew both major party candidates had lost a vote to the Libertarian.

The accompanying longform comedy video, in which “Dead Abe Lincoln” dissed Clinton and Trump and sang Johnson’s praises, is the most viral political video of 2016, the PAC announced yesterday. The ad was designed by the Harmon Brothers, already famous for longform comedy videos promoting sometimes unusual products.

They say it has been viewed (at least in part) over 17.3 million times and shared 409,000 times in just the two weeks since its launch. Their press release says in comparison that “Trump’s most popular ad has been shared a little more than 334,000 times in more than two months, and Clinton’s most popular ad has been shared more than 192,000 times in nearly two months.”

Facebook will measure anyone who has the video playing at all as a view, so the PAC provided some more granular numbers on its impact and spread in emails today.

Of the 17,787,252 views, 17,563,845 (98 percent) came from Facebook, and 11,697,520, 66 percent, of those were for longer than the three seconds that Facebook counts. The PAC did some paid promotion, and 38 percent of the views (6.694.040) arose from paid promotion and 11,093.212 were organic.

As far as the matching process, the PAC’s chief Matt Kibbe reports that 33,393 Democrats have signed up and 33,036 Republicans, for a total of 66,429 signed up and 30,819 successful matches made, covering 61,638 people.

Alternative PAC’s total fundraising for this cycle has been almost $1.1 million from over 760 individual donors.

“Social media has leveled the playing field this election cycle,” Kibbe said in the press release. “We may not have billions to spend but thanks to sites like Facebook we’ve been able to reach millions of disgruntled voters with our message and they’ve responded in resounding numbers.”

The video:

Dead Abe Lincoln Says: Vote Gary Johnson

The Gary Johnson-supporting SuperPAC AlternativePAC has launched a new project, called “Balanced Rebellion.”

Via their site and using Facebook, they link a voter who would like to vote Libertarian from a specific state who says they would feel obligated to vote Hillary Clinton if they had no other choice to another voter who says they’d feel obligated to vote Trump in that situation.

This is intended to solve the problem of the would-be third party voter who fears their vote would enable the candidate they most hate to win. You know, the old “A vote for a third party is a vote for whatever candidate you most hate.”

As Matt Kibbe, who runs the PAC, explained in a phone interview this morning, you will actually be informed of the existence of this specific other voter, but just a first name to protect the other users’ privacy.

The site and idea are explained in a long-form comedic video starring “Dead Abe Lincoln.” The 5-minute ad attacks Trump as your drunk racist Uncle and Clinton as a corrupt pol trying to “make millions on political favors.” If America is Gotham City, then Clinton is the Mob and Trump the Joker. Johnson then is Batman.

Dead Abe then explains some of Gary Johnson’s good qualities, such as being a popular GOP governor in a Democratic state who managed to cut taxes, who wants to end wars, and not spy on you. It tries to stress that even if you don’t believe in all Johnson’s policies, you still might be able to see he’s a better presidential choice than Clinton and Trump.

The video is the creation of the Harmon Brothers, profiled last month in the Washington Post for being the famous makers of rulebreaking longform web-based ads, whose initial rep is based on “turning gross into gold” (they invented the “pooping Unicorn” for the Squatty Potty product).

“Taboo products, if we believe in them, are our specialty,” Jeffrey Harmon, one of the four Mormon brothers who run the agency, told the Post.

Jeffrey Harmon says in an emailed statement via Kibbe that “Early indicators suggest this Balanced Rebellion ad is as viral as the mega viral fiberfix ad we released last week.”

AdWeek on that fiberfix ad, which got 3 million Facebook views in a day with no paid push.

The Harmon Bros. “dead Abe Lincoln” video for Balanced Rebellion:

In Presidential Tinder, Why Would You Swipe Right for Trump or Clinton?

A soon-to-be-launched new internet video from the Gary Johnson-supporting AlternativePAC analogizes this year’s presidential election to Tinder.

Republican Donald Trump, it says, is the loudmouth at the end of the bar, pissing everyone off.

Democrat Hillary Clinton is “a nightmare…always reading your emails while hiding her own. Paranoid. Jealous.”

Gary Johnson, however, “climbs mountains,” and is for peace, privacy, and equality. Moreover, his company has never gone bankrupt.

American voters in this Tinder analogy are advised to “not settle” for Trump or Clinton but to “score” with Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party.

This seems of a piece (in its uncoordinated PAC way) with a general attempt on Johnson and Weld’s part to position themselves not as radical libertarians but more as a choice that just seems personally sane and manageable, not exuding the sort of personal characteristics that indeed many of would find revolting face to face. (Marking the female candidate as “jealous” could and doubtless will be read by some as problematic, in the modern lingo, but it seems intended to match the “wants to read your email” point, a serious policy issue.)

The video:

I reported the other day on AlternativePAC chief Matt Kibbe on the value of short internet videos as a superior bang for the buck for the modern electorate.

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

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.)