Meme-ocracy: How Viral Videos Are Hijacking Our Elections

By The Malketeer

In an era where memes can make or break reputations overnight, politicians are now shamelessly exploiting viral sensations to attract voters.

The recent campaign video by Pakatan Harapan’s Dr. Joohari Ariffin for the Sungai Bakap by-election scheduled for 6 July 2024 epitomises this troubling trend, as he brazenly reimagines the infamous “one by one, gentleman” incident that captivated the nation.

From Fisticuffs to Photo Ops: The New Political Playbook

While Joohari’s approach may seem novel, it speaks to a broader, more insidious shift in political campaigning. Gone are the days when stump speeches and policy papers were enough to sway the electorate.

Today’s politicians, hungry for votes, are serving up bite-sized content that feels more like entertainment than governance.

By coopting the “one by one” meme, Joohari demonstrates not just an understanding of what resonates with the public, but a willingness to exploit it.

He transforms a moment of conflict into a metaphor for unity, replacing confrontation with cooperation over a shared durian. It’s a clever twist, but one that raises questions about the depth of political discourse.

The Viral Vote: A Double-Edged Sword

This strategy, however, is not without its risks. There’s a fine line between appearing relatable and seeming desperate or out of touch.

Politicians must tread carefully, ensuring their use of pop culture references feels authentic rather than forced. Moreover, while viral content can grab attention, it’s crucial that substance isn’t sacrificed for style. Voters still need to know where candidates stand on important issues.

The danger lies in reducing complex political discourse to easily digestible, but ultimately hollow, sound bites.

The Social Media Statesman: A New Political Animal

Yet, if done well, this approach can open doors to more meaningful engagement. By speaking the language of social media, politicians like Joohari can potentially reach voters who might otherwise tune out traditional campaign messages.

The “one by one” campaign video also highlights the dizzying speed at which our political landscape is evolving. What began as a local altercation in a convenience store rapidly became a national talking point and, within weeks, a tool for political messaging.

This acceleration of the news cycle presents both opportunities and challenges for candidates trying to stay relevant.

The Future of Politics: Memes or Meaning?

As we move forward, it’s likely we’ll see more politicians attempting to harness the power of viral moments. The key will be in striking a balance – using these cultural touchstones to open dialogues, rather than simply chasing likes and shares.

Ultimately, while the medium of political messaging may be changing, the fundamental goal remains the same: to connect with voters and articulate a vision for the future.

But as memes and viral videos increasingly dominate our political discourse, we must ask ourselves: are we voting for policies, or just picking the politician with the best punchline?

MARKETING Magazine is not responsible for the content of external sites.

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates in the marketing and advertising scene