Somebody over at the Bush-Cheney campaign had better figure out this Internet thingy pretty soon, or it’s going to be a long, unpleasant online campaign for them.
The first evidence of the campaign’s Net-cluelessness was the Bush-Cheney poster generator that came to be called “The Sloganator”. This was a web tool, on the campaign’s site, that let you create a Bush-Cheney campaign poster containing the slogan of your choice. On hearing about this, any Net-savvy person knew exactly what would happen next. Opponents would discover the site and create posters with disparaging slogans. Contests would be held, to see who could make the funniest poster. And the whole episode would be commemorated with an online slide show.
This week brings another “what were they thinking” moment, as the Bush campaign contemplates buying pop-up ads on websites. This would be a clever idea – if the ads said “Vote for Kerry”. It’s hard to think of a better way to alienate the Net community than to associate your cause with something as universally despised as popup ads. And the mistake of running popup ads would be compounded by the inevitable response, as people all over the Net started attaching spoofed popup ads to their own sites.
Bradley Rhodes at DocBug predicts more of this sort of thing, as the remix culture collides with politics. The MoveOn homebrew ads are only the beginning. Expect to see agenda-laden Flash games, spoofed websites and commercials, George Bush verbal blooper tapes, videos of John Kerry debating himself, and nasty-funny creations of all types, from supporters of both sides (or all three, if you count Nader). It looks like we’re in for an entertaining campaign.