What the GOP can learn from the UFC

This was originally writen for TechRepublican.com back in May 2010. I thought I’d share…

I always tell my fellow YRs that they need to lighten up and, for the love of God, have interests outside of politics. The master plan is to get everyone to break the old school Alex P. Keaton style of Young Republicanism. More importantly, having interests outside of politics is great when it comes to breaking the ice and networking. It can’t all be about fighting socialism and getting to the bottom of where the President was really born…KIDDING! That’s sarcasm, folks.

My top non-political interest is mixed martial arts, what most people know as the UFC: Ultimate Fighting Championship. We all get together every month with a case or two of beer and watch guys pummel each other. Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. However, besides being one of the fastest growing sports and another excuse for my friends to get together and drink (and this is where I get to the point of why you’re reading this), the UFC is also a highly lucrative private company, and I find myself becoming more and more impressed with how they’ve been utilizing new/social/direct media.

The question is how do we take some of their ideas and interpolate them into a political campaign? There are three things they do specifically that I think can not only be incorporated into a campaign, but done so using minimal resources.

1. Whenever there’s a fight card, they’ll choose two of their fighters who don’t have matches that night and have them tweet their opinions of the action. Essentially, they’re spinning the fights. This can be used during debates, specifically the Presidential ones where the campaigns have all their top names spinning for the candidate. Besides talking to the press, they can talk right to the voters in real time on Twitter (either on the campaign’s account or their own). We as junkies usually watch and re-tweet each others thoughts anyway. Having ten or so specifically high level tweeters pushing the campaign’s spin, with everyone re-tweeting them, should help increase the visibility of the candidate’s message.

2. Sometimes on the day of a show (the shows are usually on Saturdays), UFC President, Dana White, will go to the local mall with a few free tickets, tweet on his personal account that he’s at the mall, and if you find him…you get tickets. If the candidates themselves did that, it would probably be asking for trouble. Instead, volunteers could be sent to the local mall with twenty copies of say, the new Newt Gingrich book, or “Conscience of a Conservative,” or even a book written by the candidate (they have a habit of doing so). Of course, each book would contain literature ranging from palm cards, to web addresses, to where to send donations. It’s just an enjoyable and simple way to have fun with your supporters, while standing out from your opponents(s).

3. This last way takes a little bit of an investment, but it could pay off huge. Recently, to hype the upcoming Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson fight (my money is on Rashad) they partnered up with Bud Light and shot a few short training videos for Evans. They were hosted by Rachelle Leah, and were found exclusively on the Bud Light Facebook page. If your campaign has the extra resources, this would be a great way to build your Facebook community. Shoot behind the scene footage of the candidate on the campaign trail. You can even invite one or two conservative bloggers (Mary Katharine Ham, Erick Erickson, Tabitha Hale, etc.) who are sympathetic to the campaign and have them host and/or conduct interviews with supporters, campaign staff, or even the candidates themselves. Then if they’re exclusive to Facebook, supporters will have to join (or I guess “like”) your page in order to view them. The larger the community you build, the more voters you have access to when it comes to money bombs, volunteering, or even sharing the video on their Facebook pages.

That’s probably the main reason it pays to develop interests outside of politics. Musicians, antique collectors, fighting organizations…while we all use the Internet to connect and sell our products, we all use them in different ways. You never know what you can borrow from people to help promote your message.


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