Comedian attacking government with irony.

Image: One of Dan Ilic’s billboards at climate conference

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

·News and Video Producer
·4-min read

An eight-person content team led by comedian Dan Ilic is working this Federal Election to “undermine” candidatesthey 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 Clean 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:

Bin with anti-LNP stickerfrom: The Guardian Australian politics

Sales of anti-Scott Morrison bin stickers surge after Liberal council threatens rubbish services

Sydney’s Hornsby Shire Council says political stickers could ‘cause confusion’ and prevent waste pickup

Wed 23 Mar 2022 17.36 AEDT

Sales of stickers calling on voters to “bin” the prime minister have surged after the Liberal heavyweight Philip Ruddock’s Hornsby Shire Council threatened residents that garbage collection services may be suspended if they weren’t removed from wheelie bins.

On Wednesday Ruddock, the Hornsby mayor and NSW Liberal party president, defended council’s decision to insist upon the removal of stickers containing photos of Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce emblazoned with the slogans “bin him” and “chuck them out”.

He insisted the decision was taken by council officers, and had nothing to do with his office as mayor or his fellow elected councillors, of which five of nine are Liberal.

“The council officers took the decision in relation to the bins – which are council property – that they should not be interfered with by putting on them advertising material,” Ruddock said during one of many media interviews on Wednesday.

“This was not my decision. It was made by the professional staff but if you have signage that you want to put up, put it up in your garden on a post on your property, but don’t use council property.

“The bins are public property; you don’t own them; you hire them from the council to remove your waste and we ask you not to deface them with advertising material of any form.”

On Wednesday, the Sydney Morning Herald reported a resident with the stickers had received a letter saying they were “not appropriate”, and warning “you risk council’s collection contractor not servicing your bins as they cannot identify council’s logo on the bin”.

But the issue may be about to escalate, with dozens more stickers sold in Hornsby since the warning was made public, according to Wayne Smith, the director of the organisation that makes the stickers, Smart Voting.

“They have gone off,” he said, noting surges in other parts of the country as well.

“Sales have soared. People are absolutely outraged.”

Other Sydney mayors criticised the move, saying that while technically the bins were owned by council, politicians needed to have thicker skins.

The Labor mayor of Randwick, Dylan Parker, said he wouldn’t have an issue with stickers targeting his side of politics.

“Standing over residents expressing themselves looks pretty average to me,” he said.

“If people want to express their views, that’s up to them.

“It’s a free country.”

The Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne, also from Labor, agreed.

“Our policy is to focus on getting garbage and waste collection right and to leave residents’ political views to them,” he said.

“Politicians need to accept that criticism is part of political life … you don’t get to withhold services from people because they have a different political view to you.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Hornsby council said it was “not opposed to free speech in any way” and that residents were able to display signage on private property and covering parts of bins could lead to confusion.

“Council takes its commitment to collect residents’ waste very seriously and wants to avoid any situation where this could be prevented,” the spokesperson said.

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