How AOC’s Congressional Campaign Revolutionized Political Communications
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
By Kyra Letsinger, Account Executive
We all know the name Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Bronx native, proud Democratic Socialist, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for New York’s 14th District, AOC has made a name for herself both in the media and on the congressional floor. Her Green New Deal and outspoken criticism of her fellow politicians have garnered her almost 5.5 million Twitter followers. That said, many still ask the question: “How did a 28-year-old waitress beat a 10-time incumbent in her district’s election?” The answer lies in a revolutionary yet seemingly simple community outreach and social media strategy with unique visual designs.
AOC appealed heavily to the everyday members of her community because she is an everyday member of her community. She also employed her fellow community members to work on her campaign. This community involvement was highlighted on her media platforms throughout the campaign. She wrote her own official campaign video, much of which was planned and filmed in her apartment, and her local campaign volunteers coordinated the shoot. She shared candid iPhone-quality images on social media of her campaigning with local volunteers, even on holidays, and her inexperience and lack of resources turned out to be one of her largest assets.
Further, AOC’s team was keenly aware they had multiple key audiences to center their campaign around, especially everyday New Yorkers and young voters. Whether it was the intensely thorough research or AOC’s awareness of what appeals to this demographic, the variation and youthfulness of the campaign was like a breath of fresh air for young voters. They finally had a candidate they could relate to. Ocasio went on to film live, unplanned videos on her Instagram story and communicate directly with those who interacted with the posts. She also published current popular memes on Twitter and Instagram with her own witty commentary. She created much of her own content which added to the authenticity that young voters loved so much about her.
The Ocasio-Cortez campaign also created a brand identity that set her apart from recent politicians. The brand colors were purple, symbolizing the coming together of the traditional red and blue Republican and Democrat colors, and yellow, adding a bright attention-grabbing contrast in addition to the all caps font. Many posters also included both English and Spanish, paying homage to her Puerto Rican heritage and appealing to the Hispanic-American population. The goal of these posters was not to invoke
stereotypical feelings of patriotism, but rather to embrace all ideologies, ages, cultural backgrounds and allow all people to connect with politics and her campaign in particular.
Ocasio-Cortez’s communications strategy was revolutionary in its authenticity and boldness. The rise of social media as a campaign tool often portrays candidates as disingenuous or difficult to relate, but the AOC campaign was unapologetically raw in person, in print, and on social media.