Rick Perry’s Viral Video Disaster – What Politicians Do Wrong On YouTube

Rick Perry’s Viral Video Disaster – What Politicians Do Wrong On YouTube

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Republican Texas Governor and GOP presidential primary candidate Rick Perry has neared the three-and-half million mark on his YouTube “Strong” campaign ad since it was released just 5 days ago, but generated nearly half a million dislikes and caused the campaign to disable all social feedback on their YouTube channel – Making for yet another big example of politicians don’t really care to actually be “social” with their online videos.

Where Rick Perry and Some of the Other Republican Candidates Get YouTube Wrong

  • Disabling “Comments” – too many politicians treat YouTube and social media channels as a one-way broadcasting venue. It’s understood that you may receive a good amount of people who are politically opposed to you and may choose to express themselves with vulgar language or even false statements, but it makes much more sense to moderate those comments with a social community manager than to just attempt to silence everyone and receive the PR fallout.
  • Disabling “Likes/Dislikes” –again, this goes back to the importance of accepting honest feedback from the public. The fact that Rick Perry’s campaign decided with their follow-up video ad (Rick Perry: “Repeal”) to turn off even this very basic poll feature will only get them even worse media attention, and public discontent from the people whose votes they’re trying to get. (Or, are they?)
  • Not paying attention to timing. When Rick Perry’s campaign released their “Strong” video ad online, it was done right at the same time Perry was saying he was against the U.S. spending money to stop actions of serious persecution of homosexuals in foreign countries (such as imprisonment, assault, rape, and even death) – especially by sovereign governments. The overwhelming majority of the public, including many conservative Christians, associated the timing of Perry’s statements on that subject with his “Strong” YouTube ad.

YouTube Parodies of The Rick Perry Viral Video, “Strong”

Here are some of the more amusing and poignant video parodies I’ve found online around the Perry ad, all of which deal cleverly with the hypocrisy of political candidates running on the idea of “moral superiority.” (Caution: some of these videos use profanity and slurs for their parody and satire purposes.)

The “Jesus Response”

The homophobia response

The Jewish Response

The Atheist Response

The “gay lisp” remix

This one happens to be my personal favorite:

The “combine-your-prejudice” satire

Lesson: “Viral Video” Doesn’t Automatically Equal A Successful Marketing Campaign!

The Rick Perry campaign disaster should be a lesson to not just other politicians, but everyone else who is commercially and professionally minded with their own YouTube videos and other online video campaigns. Don’t be so fixated on “going viral” with your video trying to get the largest amount of views as possible. Instead, have a strategy that is built around establishing genuine and lasting connections with your general and target audiences.

For politicians in a volatile field (and with many haters present), that should include how to get the best positive-to-negative feedback over the long-term – which means not treating your YouTube channel like a billboard, where you turn off comments and expect to only receive overwhelmingly positive feedback. If you can’t learn to be genuinely social with your YouTube video channel and handle genuine responsiveness, then you will truly “suck” in your online marketing – whether you’re a politician or any other businessperson.


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