Luisa Fernanda Olejua Pico (29 years old) is the person behind the successful social media campaign of the presidential candidate, Rodolfo Hernández. On the second floor of a typical colonial house in Bucaramanga, in two rooms with several paper faces of the candidate pasted on the wall, is the ship from which the networks that have placed Hernández very close to occupying the most executive position are directed. important in Colombia. Only a curtain separates the constant laughter of 14 vergajos (as young people are called in Santander), from the hustle and bustle of a campaign house frequented by hundreds of people every day looking for an opportunity to meet the presidential candidate.
The oldest of the team is 31 years old, the youngest just 23. Luisa Fernanda Olejua Pico, a publicist who dreamed of running an advertising company far from politics, wears black pants, a linen nightgown through which a totally tattooed right arm shows through. , and tennis. At no time during the interview does she let go of her cell phone, where there are more than 600 unread messages. At the first question, she lets out a nervous laugh: “This shit makes me very sad, I don’t like cameras.”
Ask: How did you become the right hand of Rodolfo Hernández?
Response: They told me that there was a space for the engineer’s communication issue. I didn’t care if they didn’t pay me, I wanted the opportunity. I was growing and looking for the resumes of others as the requirements were given.
P. What does it take to be part of that team?
R. The most important: the feeling. We love each other. We are bothering all the time, we don’t feel like we come to work. And the humor. You have to come, sit down and laugh your ass off with us because this is a work of creativity and creativity, for one to be bitter, that’s not.
P. Rodolfo Hernández was already a hit on social networks with his program talk to the mayor. You arrive in 2019 and are renamed Talk to the engineer, after his dismissal as alderman. How did they become what they are today?
R. At first they only worked with a computer. I asked for lights, he approved the budget. I suggested that we use cameras, he said yes, and I consulted with people who had webcam studios and we learned.
P. In September 2019, did Hernández already want to be president?
R. I think so. I started working with him the day he resigned as mayor, September 16. And there he said: well let’s see if we start the project to the presidency. There is a sense of citizenship that asks me through the lives, to be president and we are considering it. At the end of January 2020, in Cartagena, was the first strategic meeting of the presidency with the Argentines Hugo Vásquez and Guillermo Meque. From there, the decision was made that the campaign would be focused on social networks, because it is the most economical, the least money that would represent us for the campaign.
P. What triggered it the most in networks was Tik Tok.
R. That’s a new social network. It arrived in Latin America and became very popular among boys and young people. So we wonder why not be there? We opened it in November 2021 believing that it was a social network for young people and many said that there were no votes there, because they were not of legal age, but no way! One gets into a taxi and the taxi driver is informed by Tik Tok. Suddenly they are not content creators like young people, but they do consume Tik Tok, like most of the boomers. And there we find a way not to ridicule him.
P. There’s a fine line between making content like that and making a fool of yourself.
R. Totally. The videos made by Óscar Iván Zuluaga are fatal, Char’s were produced as if they were for television. Instead, we recorded with the cell phone, because that’s how social networks are, and we took advantage of the videos or songs that were trending. It never crossed our minds to put Rodolfo to dance. That wasn’t going to happen. And he never mistrusted us.
P. How much does Rodolfo Hernández’s digital strategy cost?
R. In payroll we do not know because that issue is administrative. I’m not the one paying the thirteen boys, the campaign does. What I do know is that in social networks it is very cheap and does not exceed 350 million pesos, having started in November 2021 and including what we are going to spend in the second round.
At this point in the conversation, Olejua calls Miguel López, 31, a musician by profession who designs software, and who is now dedicated to setting the digital standard for Rodolfo Hernández. He answers the following questions.
P. What places have you been able to reach thanks to social networks?
R. Antioquia was the most difficult. The digital advertisement is made through bids, and in the regions where the candidates believed they had the greatest potential, the advertisement was more expensive. In Antioquia, for example, Fico spent hundreds of millions, just like Petro in Bogotá, and that made penetration difficult. We did the opposite. In Santander we did not advertise strongly because we knew that the engineer was already well known here, and he was reflected with the 270,000 votes he obtained in Bucaramanga. The little budget that there was, we made it efficient in other strategically thought-out regions.
P. And how did they do it?
R. First, we wanted to reach the largest number of users, but on the condition that they had never interacted with the engineer. In other words, new audiences. That’s why he didn’t rise in the polls at first, because they didn’t know him. We needed them to get to know it, and once they got to know it, they needed to fall in love with it with the rest of the content. In addition, the same person never received the same video of the engineer, because advertising is invasive and that is how we managed to keep them from getting annoyed. From there, the algorithm did the work for us.
Olejua resumes the interview with a complicit smile: “We are very good, right?”
P. Rodolfo uses a speech that reduces ideas. He says that they steal 100 million pesos per minute instead of saying 50 billion a year. Does it work better for him?
R. Rodolfo speaks the most basic things in the world. He goes to reason. That is his way of communicating. We only potentiate what he is in essence. They call him a populist and in reality what he is is too popular. He doesn’t get into statistics or weird words. That is due to his age, his upbringing, his region.
P. There is a term: “gamification”, which is to turn any topic into a playful one to make it understood.
R. If we take the strategy and give a title to everything we do, we would end up with a lot of marketing terminology of a multinational from Bogotá. Here we do everything because it is given to us. This is mere talent, we apply it, and we do it responsibly and professionally.
P. Is it difficult to work with Hernández?
R. Rodolfo is blunt, forceful, strong with everything that has to do with politics and corruption, but in his day to day he is not brave. The only thing he asks of us when we go to record with him is that we don’t make him wait. That when he arrives, everything is ready. I tell him record this, thathe does, goes out and leaves.
P. Did you ever imagine being where you are today?
R. No (laughs). I never saw myself working for a campaign. Moreover, if we were experts in political marketing, things would not turn out so well for us. In politics everything is calculated and here we are not like that. Rodolfo is a very good product and we sell it, we sell it in a good way.
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