Zack Zackerson, Head Social Media Guru / Virality Ninja of the social media startup ClymbEr, addresses Trump's inner circle in the only room at Mar-a-Lago with a projector:
When you first brought us in to help boost your PR and increase favorable user engagement with the White House brand, you posed a simple question: How can we make people care about -- let alone be impressed by -- military activity that ultimately may serve no purpose, particularly when we've been in a state of draining perpetual war for 15-odd years now?
Well, I am proud to say that the "Mother of All Bombs" was the top TWO trending topics on Twitter for most of a full day:
Try and beat that shit, United.
And we were the #1 story on the New York Times trending bar, obliterating whatever that boring-ass third story is:
The New York Times
No one is wasting one of their ten free articles on a #3, buddy.
It's all everyone's been talking about for DAYS now, at a time when most news stories fizzle in nanoseconds. So I know what you're asking: How did we crush this so hard? Simple. We followed the Two Key Steps to PR Virality:
STEP 1: BRAND IT
It's impossible to get anyone to notice run-of-the-mill military stories these days. Imagine seeing the headline "Four Killed In Drone Strike In Yemen." Who cares? Doesn't that happen like twice a day? People need something new. Something concise, snackable. Something they can latch onto and make Twitter jokes about for like eight hours. Engagement.
That's where "Mother of all Bombs" comes in. It's distinct, it's easy to Google, and it handily captures the Call Of Duty demographic. It's a catchy phrase you haven't heard before, and you instantly have an opinion about it. Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin had their "conscious uncoupling"? If they just broke up, it would've been out of the news in one day. But once you hear that specific phrase? We're talking Twitter jokes for days, late-night jokes for months, and morning radio jokes for an ageless eternity.
Plus, it's a perfect hashtag! #MOAB. Short, punchy, instantly searchable -- you think any of Obama's drone strikes had kickass SEO like that? Hell no. Even if you Google "Obama Bomb" TODAY, ALL of the stories are about the MOAB. We already knocked eight years of warfare right off the front page of Google. Shoulda' branded them drones, Barry! #BrandingFail.
Donald Trump Jr./Twitter
Just look at how perfectly Tweetable this content is. ISIS, check. #MOAB, bomb emoji. #MAGA. By the way, we're currently working on convincing Twitter to give #MOAB its own cute little hashtag emoji. That way, Donald Trump Jr. won't have to manually enter it in anymore! Stay tuned.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. We have plans to blast user engagement sixfold with an interactive hashtag. We're thinking either #MOAByourself or #HowDoYouMOAB? Haven't set one in stone yet, but we've got a list of 600 potentials that our entire staff of five part-time employees will be rigorously Slacking about 'til like 6:40 tonight. We've got our viral content bacon wizards drafting up some Snapchat filters which people can use to make their dogs look like they're pooping the MOAB, or like their babies are riding it with little cowboy hats on. #YeehawMOAB! Instagram Stories, Twitter Moments, Kik. Venmo is a website, too. We just had a meeting with the Waze people. That went really well. Could do something with them.
Then, whoever's got the best #MOABselfie -- #MOABie? #MeOAB? We'll nail that down later -- gets to party in the Oikos Triple Zero Ball Pit at the Teen Choice Awards or whatever. Or they're in an commercial where they crack open a pistachio with the #MOAB, and we debut the ad exclusively during one of those music awards shows where Keith Urban's perpetually onstage. Just spitballing here, though. You like any of this, feel free to stop me.
STEP 2: SIMPLIFY
We dropped one huge bomb on ISIS. Bomb, ISIS. Instantly gettable. Totally universal. People only click on stuff they know -- Star Wars, Disney, Harry Potter, ISIS. This isn't some drone strike on a Somalian terrorist camp (booo-ring). This is ISIS, the Star Wars of terrorists. The zombie Nazis that make killing trendy again.
Every human in the U.S. can understand "We dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in our history on ISIS." Throw a pic of that big, erect orange bomb in the thumbnail image, and blammo. Express train to Click City, corner of Brand Engagement Street and Trending Topics Avenue, Apartment Number Viral. Ooh! What if MULAN'S riding the bomb in the pic? Hoo-booy. Hope you've got a wedding venue in mind, cuz yo brand's about to get ENGAGED.
We haven't even talked about GIFs. You can GIF the fuck out of this.
But we CANNOT get complacent. I'm not gonna lie, ISIS' sosh-media game is strong. Those beheading videos? They autoplay on Facebook, and they're closed-captioned, so people can watch them on the office toilet. (We call that being "Shit-Nimble." Industry term.) And their "How To Make Cheesy Pizza Scones" cooking video is up to like 20 million views. They don't throw a fun improvised "click to subscribe" tag on the end of their uploads, which is a total rookie mistake, but hey! That's what they get for doing their social in-house.
Russia's already coming after us too with this "Father of All Bombs" knockoff BS. To respond, we'll have our team of viral content ninja bacon wizards (three dudes we don't pay) construct a catty but ultimately harmless Twitter burn and @-reply it to them. "Ooh, naming bombs after parents, whose idea was that? Asking for a friend. Hashtag MOAB." If it drives engagement, we can toss some money behind it and push it into "promoted" for a couple hours. Sometime in the afternoon, so we avoid the big trenders (NBA Playoffs, Scandal, etc.) Or just the next time we accidentally kill a bunch of other allied fighters and need to bury it.
So that's the gist of it. Next time you want to launch some impromptu, massively expensive, and dubiously effective military offenses that fly in the face of the isolationist rhetoric you peddled to get elected, and you also want to COMPLETELY dominate the news cycle and paper over any unsightly stories happening concurrently, AND you win over a shocking number of Democratic leaders at the same time, you know where to Slack me.
Ooh, just had a brain-gasm: "Cobra Missile?" It's just two random words, but I think we can run with it.
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How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.