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The worlds of marketing and political campaigning have many things in common. Their intention is to persuade people. They’re both selling something. They employ tested colors, designs, and buzzwords to get people excited. One of the keys to their success is something called “list-building.”
With ballots from the 2018 elections still being counted, Senator Kamala Harris is wasting no time building her 2020 list. To do it, she’s employing a deceptive technique, promoting an online “petition” that’s really nothing more than a way to get people to willingly give her campaign their contact information. These people will be targeted with campaign fundraisers later.
No official announcement has been made about her 2020 presidential run, but it’s hard to believe she’s not running after purchasing 1,100 Facebook ads to promote these “petitions.” A Facebook ad doesn’t have a set cost, but we can assume big money is being put into these list-building ads because of the sheer volume. To put it into perspective, Beto O’Rourke spent around $5 million on Facebook ads for his Senate campaign. Presidential campaigns can easily spend 25 times as much as an expensive Senate campaign.
Unlike a valid petition people often sign to get a candidate or proposition on a ballot, these list-building petitions don’t actually do anything. People are told they’re demanding this action or that, but in the end they’re just giving over information. Some go so far as to ask for everything, including name, address, phone numbers, email, and occasionally even income. These lists grow much more slowly because of the depth of the information requested.
A more common technique is to ask for minimal data to encourage people to fill it out. At the end of the day, all a campaign really needs is an email address they can later use in fundraising campaigns. Here’s an example of an ad Senator Harris’ campaign recently put out:
The meta data reveals the page was titled, “Acquisition: 180822 Mueller FB.”
“FB” means it was a Facebook campaign. “Mueller” was the topic. “180822” is the tracking number for A/B testing. “Acquisition” is the goal. Anyone who signed this “petition” has just had their contact information acquired. Mission accomplished. They will soon be receiving emails asking them to donate to the Kamala Harris 2020 presidential election fund.
As for the results of the “petition,” they will go nowhere. There won’t be a Congressional action that is enabled by the thousands of people who “signed” it. You won’t see Kamala Harris standing in front of the White House reading off the names of the people who participated in the “petition.” She couldn’t do that even if she wanted to because the “petition” only asks for a first name. Are there really people out there who believe signing a petition only requires a first name?
Senator Harris is promoting fraudulent petitions with the sole purpose if building her 2020 fundraising spam list. Anyone who “signs” it believing they’re demanding protection for Robert Mueller is a sucker. That’s exactly who she wants to target.
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