Trump Is Imitating Logan Paul, and It’s Working
With Joe Biden on Animal Crossing and AOC on Twitch, politics is finally embracing mainstream internet culture, and Donald Trump has adopted his own social media-inspired strategy: mimicking Logan Paul. Thankfully, the presidential incumbent hasn’t started vlogging, but around 10 of his recent videos feature wacky, emoji-filled thumbnails in the style of clickbait and prank YouTubers.
Trump’s YouTube in general is a chaotic mess. Videos are uploaded nearly every hour, ranging anywhere from just a few seconds to a full half-hour long. The same 13-second clip was uploaded twice in a row, and the page reuses the same title for different videos (“Now we know why Joe Biden got so angry!”). However, his recent strategy, first noticed by online creator Chris Melberger, seems to only have been implemented this past week, and is outperforming his regular videos by millions of views.
“His thumbnails seem like he is really trying to grab the attention of a younger demographic, given the colors, the emojis, and the overall way it’s presented,” Melberger says over email. In fact, it may have been Melgerger who manifested this strategy, having mocked up similar Trump thumbnails as a joke in 2017.
"Mine were mainly just goofs about his day to day life if he vlogged while as president, while his are trying to convince people to vote for him instead of Biden,” he says.
There are a few likely reasons for the standout success of Trump’s new-style videos. So many of his rapidly-uploaded clips are just taken from interviews and town halls, whereas the videos with highly produced thumbnails have what can generously be referred to as a thesis—Joe Biden’s mind is in decline, Joe Biden wants to raise taxes, UFC president Dana White is endorsing Trump, and so on. The videos also recreate something familiar to anyone already on YouTube, so much so that you might not immediately realize that you’re clicking on a Trump ad.
But as advertisers and millennials on TikTok know, savvy internet users can smell inauthenticity from miles away, and the comments on these videos are all making fun of its “how do you do fellow kids” energy.
“you forgot the : NOT CLICKBAIT (GONE SEXUAL)” one commenter joked.
“At least we know who he’s targeting...Facebook moms,” another wrote.
And my personal favorite:
“Next ad is gunna be: ‘I called Joe Biden at 3am and he threatened to kill me!!! 💯 😱 💯 (he showed up at my house! 😱) (NOT CLICKBAIT) 💯 😱’”
The thing is, with how 2020 is going, it really might be.