Strategic Perception, Inc.

Demon-Sheep Strategist Says More Ads to Come

Robert Costa
National Review Online Weekend — The Corner
February 4th, 2010

Carly Fiorina's demon-sheep video is a web sensation. Since it was posted on YouTube on Wednesday, it has generated over 110,000 views. In the ad, Fiorina attempts to shear former congressman Tom Campbell, a rival Republican running for U.S. Senate in California, as a "FCINO" — a fiscal conservative in name only. Today, Fiorina's other GOP primary opponent, state assemblyman Chuck DeVore, came out and said that his campaign will be a "demon-sheep-free zone." DeVore supporters also set up, a spoof website for the "Society for the Eradication of Demon Sheep from our Political Discourse."

The sheep shots, it seems, are just beginning.

On Twitter, "#demonsheep" has become a popular tag for posts, approaching the top of the social-networking site's trending topics overnight. One North Carolina conservative has created a Twitter account called "@demonsheep" that has already garnered 900-plus followers. Here are some of his Tweets:

— America does not torture. I do. For eternity.

— MSNBC is about to run my ad. It is one of the most evil channels on the devil box, and therefore my favorite.

— Demon breath gives me trouble with the ladies. I wonder if nibbling on @JimDeMint would help.

Journalists on Twitter are getting demon-sheep fever, too:

@jimgeraghty: If Obama can vanquish the #demonsheep, he's earned that Nobel.

@DavidCornDC: Market tanks, blizzard descends, #demonsheep run wild. Book of Revelations?

@andylevy: Why won't Tom Campbell produce his birth certificate to prove that he is not a #demonsheep?

The Campbell campaign was not amused. They sent out a letter to supporters on Wednesday night saying that "Tom's looking forward to a mature and substantive debate on serious issues, not silly antics," and that "Carly's ad likens fiscal conservatives to sheep, and Tom to a demon sheep, without mentioning a single federal issue or proposing a single solution to America's economic woes. Seriously." The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, however, loved it, and launched a petition to "tell Carly Fiorina to make more videos, preferably featuring farm animals."

So will Team Carly unleash Chuck DeVore, demon rooster, next? Julie Soderlund, a senior aide to Ms. Fiorina, tells National Review Online that it's not out of the question. "If you thought this was interesting, just wait, there is more to come," she says.

The campaign, Soderlund says, never expected this kind of response to the video. "It has taken on a life of its own. We produced it with the intent of breaking through the clutter, but it has exceeded our expectations. It seems to be everywhere online. Some people call it the best ad ever, some say it is the worst, but everyone is talking about it."

"We wanted to do something catchy and, frankly, controversial," Soderlund says. "We kept thinking about how we can make news while also getting out our message. When Tom Campbell flipped from the governor's race to the Senate race, he made a big show of being a fiscal conservative when he's really the exact opposite, when you look at his record. We see this kind of ad as a creative reaction to communicate that message with voters, so we decided to move forward and produce it."