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AfD poster; Harris

AfD hires US firm for hard-hitting election campaign

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) has launched a hard hitting Facebook and Twitter campaign ahead of the German elections, Spiegel Online reported. The left-leaning publication called the campaign "disturbing". It shows the blood-stained tire tracks left by Islamic State terrorists in several European cities.

Published: September 3, 2017, 9:44 am

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    Berlin

    The online poster carries the slogan: “The tracks left by the world chancellor in Europe”, highlighting Angela Merkel’s responsibility for the tragic events. The party’s election posters, equally hard hitting, were designed by advertising professional and prize-winning author Thor Kunkel.

    The AfD party launched their internet campaign ahead national parliamentary elections to be held this month, on 24 September. The anti-immigration party plan to spend part of their 3-million-euro budget on similar publicity stunts. The party is also planning a digital campaign to reach German voters.

    The AfD has always been an internet-savvy party. Because of the negative press it receives , the party has had to bypass the mainstream media to communicate its messages directly to voters.

    It seems as if they have succeeded because the posters are very different from those of other parties. One shows the belly of a pregnant white woman with the slogan, “New Germans? We’ll make them ourselves” a reference to the party’s pro-German stance. Another shows a piglet with the words: “Islam? It doesn’t fit in with our cuisine.”

    But the one getting perhaps the most attention states, “Burkas? We prefer bikinis.”

    Kunkel has also engaged the services of advertising professionals in the United States with experience of the conservative scene. The party is working together with the Texas-based agency Harris Media, which recently presented its plans to the AfD’s national committee, Spiegel noted. Bloomberg has described company founder Vincent Harris as “the man who invented the Republican internet”.

    The Christian conservative Harris, started the agency in his college dorm in 2008.

    “With its provocative and aggressive campaigns, the agency has already contributed to the success of a number of controversial politicians. In Britain, it worked with the anti-EU UKIP party; in Israel, it worked with the governing Likud party; and in the United States,” Spiegel added.

    Trump has also engaged the agency for projects. Vincent Harris told Breitbart: “We’re going to hopefully keep doing stuff for them in the future.”

    The ads have been met with the usual outrage, and called “rascist, sexist, and Islamaphobic”, but they are tailored to address German anger about migrants. The AfD is currently polling at around 10 percent with the anti-migrant messages at the core of its campaign.

    Spiegel reported that Harris recently visited the AfD headquarters in Berlin in person, and there are currently three Harris Media employees working on the campaign.The AfD reportedly rejected a suggestion that it use “Germany for Germans” as a slogan, because they did not feel it was sophisticated enough.

    Numerous Republicans have hired Harris as digital expert, including influential senators like Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul as well as presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Eventually, the Trump campaign also used him, but ended the relationship after the news portal Politico made their working relationship public. What exactly Harris had worked for Trump remains unclear.

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