Republicans drive Priuses.
Republicans have tattoos.
Okay, so maybe this isn’t shocking news to hear. But a former Mitt Romney ad guru has made little reminders like this the centerpiece of a strange new social media campaign aimed at softening the public image of his Republican Party.
The campaign is called “Republicans Are People, Too.” Right now, it’s a low-budget endeavor, with an online and social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.
The man behind the push, Vinny Minchillo, told FoxNews.com he’s trying to “catch a wave” of interest by launching “Republicans Are People, Too” shortly before the midterm elections – though he’s not advocating for any particular candidates.
Rather, he said he’s trying to “encourage and embolden” Republicans to get more involved, easing them out of the stigma he says is associated with being a conservative.
“In a perfect world, we’d like to make it safe for Republicans to admit they’re Republicans. ... We want to make the world a safe place for Republicans,” he said.
His web video posted on Republicansarepeopletoo.com shows” Republicans” doing various everyday things – taking selfies, posing with tattoos and so on.
The campaign has endured its share of mocking on the Internet and in the media (“unintentionally hilarious” and “epic failure” are just a couple of the online comments deriding the push).
It also recycles a phrase once used by a pro-Republican drive in the wake of Nixon’s resignation, and bears a striking resemblance to the 2011-2012 “I’m a Mormon” ads, which stressed the ordinary-ness of Mormons -- Minchillo said he never noticed the similarities.
The Glasshouse Strategy ad man -- and, according to his Twitter, bon vivant – says he couldn’t be happier with the responses, of all stripes. He retweets both favorable and critical reactions to the video.
He tweeted, “Response to republicansarepeopletoo.com has been interesting. A little snark, but really pretty positive. #ImARepublican”
As for whether he’ll take the campaign to the airwaves, he said: “It’ll be the next step in the conversation.”
“I don’t want to give too much away, but we’re going to have a little fun with it … We’re going to stay positive,” he said.
The ads, which Minchillo says are a “100 percent grassroots deal,” have gotten all of their funding from within the Glasshouse Strategy organization.
“There’s probably about $60,000 worth of put into the whole ad,” he said of the web video.
The website itself, a minimally designed, frill-less blue-on-blue (on blue) single page, describes the point of the advert as being a way to end online bullying of Republicans.
It says: “Here’s the deal: before you post another bullying comment, think about this: Republicans are people, too.”
While not everybody is convinced by the intentions of the ad, as The Washington Post points out, Republicans and Democrats both have it pretty rough when it comes to public opinion, especially on the Internet. It noted a Pew Research Center study that shows that people often feel that the group they are most closely aligned with faces the most backlash.