We have seen Hillary Clinton stage appearances, knowing ahead of time the people she’d interact with. Would a staged rally be out of the question for a struggling GOP candidate? According to “Crowds On Demand”, not at all.
Did you listen to Jeb Bush make his announcement yesterday? Did you hear loud cheers from a crowd that seemed excited at the prospect that there could be another Bush as President? Was I the only one confused? I don’t know one person who doesn’t threaten to leave the Country if it’s Bush vs Clinton for President again. Can’t imagine folks actually excited and cheering for Jeb.
It got me wondering, would someone like Jeb, or another candidate that’s been struggling like he has, hire a crowd? Pay people to attend their rallies to make them seem like they’re gaining in popularity? We have seen Hillary Clinton stage appearances, knowing ahead of time the people she’d interact with. Would a staged rally be out of the question for a struggling GOP candidate? According to “Crowds On Demand”, not at all.
Crowds on Demand is an American publicity firm. It claims to be the only “rent a crowd” service, providing its clients with the ability to hire actors to pose as fans. I decided to contact them, pretending to be an employee of a GOP candidate running for office. Their Founder/CEO, Adam Swart, responded. Here is our exchange…
Me: I saw your case study on foreign candidates but has your system proven to work in U.S. politics?
We have worked with dozens of candidates in the US primarily but not exclusively Republican. Mostly they are candidates who suffer from lack of enthusiasm/turnout at rallies and in need of a ‘game change’ (sorry, that’s a loaded term now!). The candidates have been primarily congressional/senate candidates. We’ve only worked with one (serious) presidential candidate thus far. I have found our approach has led to increased poll numbers and, in many case made the margin of victory for a few reasons:
A) Photo-ops at rallies. Having a diverse group of people (race/gender/age) around the candidate is critical especially for those who are constantly followed by reporters but even for those who only get a couple pieces per day.
B) Enthusiastic crowds bring more media attention and shift the narrative onto grassroots supporters. Press always want to understand why people support candidate x or candidate y. Giving them great footage of enthusiastic supporters speaking about their love for the candidate provides great quotations
C) Gives a sense of legitimacy for the candidate among their existing supporters. When they see lots of enthusiastic folks at rallies, they feel like they’re backing the right horse.
D) Bolsters the candidates’ self-confidence. Some candidates knew about the paid crowds and other times we have been hired by outside organizations. In both cases, seeing more supporters gave them the confidence to up their game on stage.