How the Far-Right is Normalizing Violent Advertising
Eric Greitens’ violent ad asks followers to go “RINO hunting” — and it’s right out of the fascism playbook
On June 20, US Senate candidate Eric Greitens posted an incredibly violent political campaign advertisement on his social media channels. The ad, which features a militarized police force destroying a house and Greitens pumping a shotgun, resembles contemporary examples of extreme far-right propaganda. The video, mirroring terrorist visual rhetoric, displays Greitens wielding a shotgun and asking followers to “get a RINO [Republican in name only] hunting permit” and to “join the MAGA crew.” Twitter determined the ad to be “in the public’s interest” and is allowing it to stay online. Keeping it up is a bad idea. On the other hand, taking it down makes Greitens a media martyr — someone who claims to be a victim when appropriate consequences are dealt to them. This is the birth of a new advertising strategy directly introducing fascist tactics into our feeds.
Advertising is temporally and culturally connected to consumers and audiences. The goal of advertising is to convince you to make a choice, whether that be with your wallet, your mind, or your vote. Over the last decade, the importance of social media as well as cultural movements from #MeToo to #BlackLivesMatter to MAGA have significantly altered the way marketers engage their advertising methods.
What often goes unnoticed by consumers is that advertising now relies on reaction cycles as part of an advertising campaign. From the advertisement’s virality to the YouTube reaction videos to the media coverage of the campaign and its reactions, a multi-modal, multiple media, meta-textual style of advertising has emerged.
For example, Gillette, one of the biggest razor companies, was defined in the early 2000s by comparing shaving to flying fighter jets and used wrestler-turned-actor John Cena as their avatar of masculinity. After the #MeToo movement, Gillette performed a…