The digital media firm behind the campaign to “drunk dial congress” and a Cialis-themed spoof that put a George Allen-like figure in an outdoor bathtub has been hired by Bernie Sanders.
The Vermont senator’s White House bid has already drawn some serious media attention. “Don’t underestimate me,” Sanders boasted at the top of an Atlantic piece quoting his recent “This Week” appearance. Income inequality and campaign finance reform are two early themes of Sanders’ campaign.
But in order to maintain a share of the media spotlight, this gravitas is expected to give way to what will be a bright spot of humor in the 2016 landscape.
That’s not to say there won’t be substance behind the senator’s creative. In fact, Revolution Messaging has proved adept at pairing humor with policy. It used puppets, for instance, to tackle the employer-paid insurance contraception coverage issue. During the 2013 Virginia governor’s race, they received attention for their anti-Ken Cuccinelli video that featured a cardboard cut-out of the Republican awkwardly placed in a woman’s home.
It’s the kind of creative that plays well online where the long-serving Independent has well cultivated his audience. He has some 300,000 Twitter followers and more than a million likes on his Facebook page. To help shift that audience to his White House effort, Kenneth Pennington, who managed Sanders’ social media for his official office, will be the campaign's digital director.
Meanwhile, Revolution Messaging’s zany humor will get shaped by veteran media consultant Tad Devine, who’s serving as a Sanders adviser.
Correction: A previous version of this article reported that Kenneth Pennington was hired by Revolution Messaging. He is working directly for the Sanders campaign.