Refreshing News - 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?
Adam Swart: 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.
Me: What reassurances do you offer that the crowd does not leak the fact that they were paid to arrive?
Adam Swart: We have all crowd members sign binding non-disclosure agreements. Our crowd members work for us on a regular basis and understand we value discretion given the sensitive nature of the business. The ‘leak’ issue has only happened on one occasion over the past three years.