ScoMo’s ‘worst nightmare’: The $74k meme factory that could change the election

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·Environment Editor
·4-min read
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An eight-person content team led by comedian Dan Ilic is working this Federal Election to “undermine” candidates they believe are funded by the fossil fuel industry.

Coalition MPs in marginal seats are the primary focus of writers, producers, directors and graphic designers who are coming together three times a week to devise ways of “poking fun” using videos and memes.

Despite operating largely under the mainstream media radar, Mr Ilic believes his It’s Not a Race social media campaign could impact the outcome of the election.

Scott Morrison's record on climate change is being targeted by Dan Ilic's memes. Source: AAP
Scott Morrison's record on climate change is being targeted by Dan Ilic's memes. Source: AAP

“We're Barnaby Joyce and Scott Morrison's worst nightmare,” Mr Ilic told Yahoo News Australia.

“Or rather, they don't know about it, because they're too focused on mainstream media.”

Key climate change campaigns led by Dan Ilic

Having made international headlines after crowdfunding a COP26 billboard to embarrass the government’s climate change record last year, Mr Ilic’s team have quickly become seasoned campaigners.

In February another piece of content they created went viral. It featured footage of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s now infamous 60 Minutes rendition of Dragon’s April Sun in Cuba with flames burning in the background — a nod to the Black Summer bushfires.

Another notable campaign has been their collaboration with the Smart Energy Council which included the production of large wheelie bin stickers featuring a picture of Mr Morrison against the slogan: 'Bin him'.

TikTok key to Federal Election campaign

During the election, Mr Ilic said social media will be the team’s primary distribution source because “everybody uses it at the moment to understand the world around them”.

“It’s the place where more young people get their news, compared to mainstream media, more than any other medium,” he said.

“When we're trying to educate folks, we're thinking of a younger audience, we’re making TikToks.”

Twitter and Facebook key to Boomer engagement

Boomers and Generation X have not been forgotten, and the team will also be creating content for Twitter and Facebook.

Memes with “big fonts” Mr Ilic jokes will be key to engaging this generation who he believes are often glued to their iPads, scrolling through what he calls “legacy social media”.

Memes created by Mr Ilic's team focus on Coalition candidates in marginal seats. Source: Supplied / Dan Ilic
Memes created by Mr Ilic's team focus on Coalition candidates in marginal seats. Source: Supplied / Dan Ilic

“Social media reaches a lot of people, so if we can get the right bit of content in front of the right person and make them laugh, and think, at the right time, they may consider not voting for a fossil-fuel candidate,” he said.

More on Dan Ilic's climate change campaigns:

How Labor and the Coalition's climate pledges compare

Why the Coalition is the focus of comedian's content

While some Labor candidates will also be targeted, it’s the Coalition which will overwhelmingly be ridiculed by Mr Ilic’s team.

In one meme, they seized upon the government's promise to cut the fuel excise to help cost of living pressure. A move which would make petrol, a fossil fuel, more affordable.

The team created a picture showing a hand clasping a fist full of dollars against the backdrop of the floods which have decimated parts of NSW and Queensland, events likely amplified by the climate crisis.

The It's Not a Race campaign is using everything from rubbish bins to social media to fight for stronger environmental policies. Source: Supplied / Dan Ilic
The It's Not a Race campaign is using everything from rubbish bins to social media to fight for stronger environmental policies. Source: Supplied / Dan Ilic

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s Federal Budget also contained costings which would see climate change expenditure cut in the coming years.

The announcement came as NSW and Queensland continued to experience major flooding which has likely been amplified by climate change.

“(Our content) is largely pointed towards the Coalition because they're the ones in power, they're the ones who if we want a kind of meaningful action on climate we have to get rid of,” Mr Ilic said.

“There's a bunch of stuff where Labor is better by a few degrees when it comes to climate, so we are just really trying to unseat the Coalition.”

“We’re really focusing on places where they're under threat from Greens candidate, a Labor candidate, a climate 200 candidate, or an independent — we’re just trying to rattle the cage wherever we can.”

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