New Company Allows Organizations To Hire Fake Protesters
So, no one supports your cause? No problem. You can hire supporters- even protesters. A company started last October by 22-year-old Adam Swart provides just this service. In a telephone interview I spoke with Swart about his new found success. “I came up with the idea on a visit to Estonia,” says Swart. At the airport, Swart says he saw a man who was being swarmed by a crowd of excited onlookers. He tells me, “I thought- Why can’t I have that kind of attention?” And so, Swart’s company, Crowds on Demand, was born.
Swart says that business is doing extremely well. According to their website, their office is located in a swanky downtown LA office suite. He says his biggest client so far was a $10k contract, but he would not disclose the client. Not bad for a 22-year-old kid. “We do most of our business through word of mouth. We are able to provide our customers with top-notch service, so they spread the word to other potential clients,” says Swart.
Swart says the company does a lot of work in the political realm. He continues to say that they also do work for non-profits and private industries. He cites one recent client, an online marketing group named Virurl, that his company was hired for. According to Swart, having protesters at a convention where Virurl was present increased the company’s revenues by 500%. Apparently the protesters had been hired by Virurl to act against a form of marketing, and Virurl provided a solution to this avenue of marketing. Multiple VIPs were at the convention, and Virurl stuck out when its employees began to show the solution to the protesters concerns to VIPs in the marketing industry.
Swart says that he pays his employees around $15/hour and has a solid staff. He continues, “We are operational in 5 major cities. However, if a big event is proposed then we have been known to travel in order to fulfill our customers demands. We’ve done business in New York, Washington D.C. and Vegas.”
He says that there are many critics, but he enjoys what he does and feels that he is contributing to society. When asked if he ever turns an organization away because of an ideological difference he says that clients are almost never turned away unless they are requesting his company breaks the law.
When I asked Swart whether his company was catering to more liberal, or conservative clients he was unwilling to give a clear answer. Swart seemed to me like a shining star of free market capitalism, so I asked him where he stood on it.
“I’m a huge fan of free market capitalism! I believe that the government must foster business and encourage innovation. Government needs to encourage people to innovate… Our government plays a vital role in job production and innovation of technology.”
Although Swart’s understanding of the free market is off-base, I feel perhaps he will develop a greater understanding of it as he matures. Whether you agree with his tactics or not- it is clear that there was a demand, and this young man supplied it.
Horribly written but quite interesting nonetheless. I would imagine a "22 year old kid from LA" is not the first mover in this marketplace and I'm sure we can find a dozen other examples of PR firms offering similar "instant astro-turf" solutions.