A marketing firm claiming to work for the Labor Party is offering to pay TikTok users to post anti-Scott Morrison sponsored content.
Crikey has obtained an email and campaign brief from Vocal Media, a small US-based based influencer marketing agency that has worked with other left-leaning political and non-for-profit organisations.
The email was sent to a TikTok user — this author — with the subject line “Paid TikTok Opportunity: Australian Labor Party”. The email offers $300 to make and post a TikTok video “based on the overarching theme of ‘Scott Morrison is too slow and always late’.”
A linked document titled “Australian Labor x VOCAL Creative Brief” lays out the goals for the creator: “This campaign aims to help shift the political discourse on TikTok […] This goes to his essential character as someone who isn’t quick to care, and instead waits until it gets really bad to do his job.”
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According to the brief, a participating user will pitch a video in their normal style about the campaign theme.
“Get creative — please avoid standard speaking to camera videos unless it is aligned with your normal content strategy. Feel free to jump on trending sounds or filters,” it says.
Once they share a proof of concept, the agency will approve it and ask for a draft. Once that’s approved, Vocal Media will tell them when to post and pay them.
Nowhere does the brief discuss making a political authorisation or disclosing that this content is sponsored. Failure to authorise political content is a breach of election laws and can result in a penalty for up to $26,640 for an individual according to the Australian Electoral Commission.
Vocal Media did not respond to Crikey questions on the record. Neither did federal or state Labor parties.
Videos criticising or satirising the prime minister have racked up tens of millions of views on hashtags like #scomo and #scottmorrison. That includes content from the Australian Labor Party’s official TikTok account, which has 47,700 followers.
In the lead-up to last year’s US election, social media influencers on platforms like TikTok and Instagram were paid to produce political content. While the federal government has paid influencers to produce sponsored content in the past, this is the first reported time that an Australian political party has reportedly offered to pay influencers to produce political material.