The Iowa hog castrator: mind-boggling online content hit Mk II

Following in the footsteps of Mike Read’s calypso song in praise of UKIP comes the newly-elected senator for Iowa, Joni Ernst, who also becomes the newest holder of FirstWord’s ‘mind boggling content hit of the week’ title.

Ms Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in Iowa’s Army National Guard division, last week captured what had been a Democrat Senate seat for 30 years in large part because of her $9,000 TV advert in which she explained she had grown up “castrating hogs on an Iowa farm” and that if elected she would set about cutting pork in Washington DC with the same vigour – and “make em squeal”.

The no-doubt arresting TV ad was viewed 400,000 times on YouTube in the first three days after it was aired, catapulting it into the view of national cable news channels and making Ms Ernst a celebrity and the subject of late-night comedy satire.

I must admit I find it hard to like a woman who proudly admits to carrying a pistol in her handbag, but using the element of surprise, honesty and a small budget, she overturned the wealthy favourite and has become Iowa’s first female representative in Congress.

What does this mean in content marketing terms? Not everybody has such a vivid backstory to tell, but Ms Ernst certainly demonstrates the power of the unexpected for politicians, businesses and anyone else trying to get their voice heard by a busy, jaded audience.

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