Francisco Javier Zapata, a gubernatorial candidate for a small political party in the Mexican state of Nayarit, is now one of the most recognizable faces in the country thanks to an embarrassing gaffe on a billboard that went viral on social networks.
The top of the billboard reads #hashtagcampaña (hashtagcampaign) instead of using the Twitter convention of a hashtag symbol (#) followed by a slogan for use on social media. An official for the Encuentro Social (Social Encounter) party initially confirmed the mistake, blaming the design department, pointing out that the hashtag should have been #wewillrevolutionizeNayarit
In the meantime, a number of tweeters took advantage to poke fun at the party, with one wit pointing out that this is what happens when parties try to multi-task, and another imagining the conversation between the campaign manager and the design team:
- Ramiro, ya aprobaron la foto, lo imprimes y le pones el hashtag de la campaña— Risco (@jrisco) May 21, 2017
- Va, jefe
- No se te olvide el hashtag
- No, cómo cree... pic.twitter.com/72j8FnCXhH
- Ramiro, they approved the photo, printed it and put the campaign hashtag
- Okay boss
- Don't forget the hashtag...
- No, how on earth would that happen...
Benjamín Valdivia, the party’s social media coordinator, explained that the gaffe wasn't a ploy to attract attention, as some tweeters are making out. This seems to be borne out by the fact that there was only one billboard with the blunder, in the suburbs of Tepic, the capital of the state in the country's west. Valdivia explained that the party has asked for the billboard to be taken down and replaced with a corrected one, adding that he had only become aware of the error when an acquaintance sent him the meme.
However, there seems to have been some backtracking on these assurances as the party began to claim that #hashtagcampaña had been a deliberate invitation to voters to send in their ideas for the real hashtag. “This was stage two,” says Zapata in a short video in which he also insisted his party is “revolutionizing the social networks […] We want the people to be involved in our plan for developing government.”
Like when you are learning to use the internet and how to campaign at the same time
Meanwhile, Daniel Azuara, State President of the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) in Nayarit, which the PRI controls, took the opportunity to tweet a photo of the billboard. He also posted a new billboard with the same hashtag, following the claim the former was deliberate.
English version by Heather Galloway.