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Biden group casts Dark Brandon in student debt relief ad


Building Back Together, a pro-Biden political advocacy group, launched a six-figure digital ad campaign on Wednesday to boost the administration’s student loan relief program in key battleground states across the country. And to make sure it landed with young voters, they enlisted the help of President Joe Biden’s online alter ego: Dark Brandon.

The ad, titled “Pocket,” takes cues from the fancam style of online video, featuring a series of viral memes and GIFs set to a bass-heavy remix of television news segments. The ad campaign will air on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, ESPN, and Hulu, targeted at users in Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 

The Dark Brandon meme — essentially a modified image of Biden with glowing eyes — grew in popularity over the summer and has been used to both mock and celebrate by Biden supporters and opponents alike. 

The meme appears several times throughout the Building Back Together ad, usually directing voters to sign up for student loan relief online. In one instance, Dark Brandon shoots lasers from his eyes pointing viewers to the StudentAid.gov website, where they can access the president’s federal forgiveness program for student loans.

“Millions of Americans making less than $125,000 a year will be able to get much-needed relief through this simple online form, which takes less than five minutes to fill out,” Danielle Melfi, Building Back Together executive director, said in a statement on Thursday. 

In April, Building Back Together rolled out its own TikTok account to reach young voters on the platform. As of publication, the account has over 40,000 followers and dozens of videos garnering thousands of views highlighting the Biden administration’s agenda.

“By launching a TikTok account, we’re building off that work with the goal of reaching the large and growing user base of this platform, including young people who disproportionately use TikTok,” a group spokesperson told The Verge at the time. “We want to make sure TikTok users are seeing information about the positive impacts of the president’s agenda, and we’ll be doing that by producing original content tailored to the platform.”



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