Impact on digital misogyny.

Strategy and targeting innovation to outperform the world’s most depressing misogynist.

What’s the problem?

Traction for online misogyny is growing fast, and no one embodies that better than Andrew Tate. He was the eighth most searched person on Google in 2022. Hundreds of millions of young men worldwide consume and share his ideas. And those ideas are a big problem.

Tate believes women are lazy, that men should have authority over them and that, “if you put yourself in a position to be raped, you must bare [sic] some responsibility.”

He's debated by politicians and discussed in thousands of articles and opinion pieces, but no one seems to know what to do about him.
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Solving the Tate problem means less traction for him and his toxic ideas, and more traction for better alternatives.

It's the same with almost all of the challenges that new media tech has thrown up for our democracies – disinformation, anti-vaxxing, xenophobia and polarization. Bad ideas get traction, and that has social and political consequences. To effectively combat those ideas, we need to persuade enough people, either to ignore them, or to engage with alternative ideas that we provide instead. In other words, we need to outperform bad ideas in terms of traction.
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theory of change.
  1. Tackling Tate means winning the battle of ideas.
  2. That’s measurable. It means quantifiably outperforming Tate's engagement statistics – especially with the audience segments that are vulnerable to his nonsense.
  3. That means reaching Tate's audience, and giving them better alternatives to the content he’s giving them

Understanding Tate’s audience, and why he’s popular.

Tate connects with young men's isolation, loneliness and self esteem issues, and he helps them achieve what they want.
They want what we all want – to be loved and accepted. Tate sympathizes with them. (And let's face it, that's a rare and valuable thing if you're a lonely, angry young man).  He tells his audiences they're ok, that they’re not the problem. And he gives them concrete strategies to get what they want.

What Tate is actually saying.

Most of what Tate preaches is standard self- development psychology – keep fit, stay positive, don't waste your life on Instagram. And for much of his audience of depressed and directionless young men, it really helps.
What he's most known, though, is his brand of gender theory. "Feminism is to blame for your angst and stigmatization. Evolution means women need to be protected and provided for, but feminism pushes them into work. They're unhappy because of it, but you as an alpha dog can cure them of their angst by putting them in their place. Bada bing, everyone's happy."
Lastly, Tate gives his audience concrete solutions to their problems; second rate business and investing tips that they can (in theory) use to build wealth, success and status. (And implicit in his message and the expensive toys he surrounds himself with, is that status and wealth can be exchanged for love and acceptance).

Insight I. Leverage the weakness of Tate’s message.

Tate’s ideas aren't going to help his young followers become happier.
They might make them feel better in the short term, but eventually they'll exacerbate their angst and further undermine their fragile self-worth by reinforcing the belief that they're not enough unless they have bigger toys / more money / more women / more more more.
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Tate's ideas guarantee his followers will only ever have superficial, unhappy, bitter relationships with women.


They guarantee his followers will only have superficial, unhappy, bitter relationships with other men too; relationships that hinge on hierarchy, dominance and never ending competition.


And they absolutely guarantee that everyone (besides other young Tate acolytes) will think they're insecure, arrogant, bullying assholes.

Insight II. Young people don’t listen to adults.

All the data shows that young people are influenced way more by their peers than by adults. And that means that, more often than not, state sponsored public information campaigns aimed at this demographic turn out to be huge a waste of money.
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There are thousands of "influencers" out there. Use them to influence.

The way to outperform Tate is to support influencers who Tate’s demographic will actually listen to, and who can either help with the same problems Tate claims to solve (but whose advice isn't toxic and will actually help) or who can undermine him.

The only innovation here is in switching platforms.

States have always used media to move and inform populations. Shared narratives bind societies together and enable them to make collective decisions. Look at the all the initials of the media dinosaurs, BBC, ABC, CNN, ETC. 

And governments are still kind of doing it now, with continued support for legacy media, and with their government ministry social media accounts. The only problem is that a lot of their attempts look like your weird uncle dancing at a family wedding.  

If they want to influence young people, they need to give power to the young people who know youth media. 
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What does support mean?

It’s hard making it in media. Even if you have natural on-screen talent, there’s a million other things you need to do to make it. Most successful social creators have content creation and marketing teams behind them.

Support would mean giving expert training, consultancy, mentorship and funds to carefully selected creators to upskill in media production, analytics, audience growth and media business strategies to help them succeed.
Data driven strategy for impact & financial viability
Learn how successful media producers use data to underpin strategy
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Traction shapes society.

The key concept here is that traction shapes society. The way that ideas flow and grow through populations profoundly influences the directions that those populations take. People follow crowds in other words, and the more that are seen to follow an idea, the more acceptable it becomes.
So the more that Tate’s ideas are effectively challenged in youth demographics, the weaker the influence of those ideas becomes in that demographic’s mainstream.

Two types of content


Content that helps Tate's target audience of lonely young men with the same issues Tate clams to help with; relationships, finances, insecurity, what it means to be a man, and so forth, but in ways that aren’t toxic (and that also work for them).


Content that undermines Tate's tropes.
  • Content from young women about what they really want in young men
  • Stories from young men about trying Tate's schtick and it flopping hard
  • Content creators watching Tate and belittling his messages

Measuring impact.

Everything in modern media is an experiment. We try something and see if it works and we iterate based on what we learn from the data we get as we go. (It's a lot better than not checking if it works and just carrying on regardless.)

So let’s imagine an experiment. To make it as clean as possible, we’ll take one relatively small and distinct geographical area, let’s say the Netherlands. Next, using a big data social listening tool like Talkwalker, we’ll measure how much pro-Tate related content is being watched and shared before we start.

Then, as the creators we’re supporting begin to ramp up the amount of content they’re putting out, we’ll measure their impact on the media landscape in real time.

By mapping that landscape month on month throughout the campaign, we can literally visualize our impact on the conversation.
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This is how we win the battle of ideas

Tate and his ilk are damaging society. They’re damaging the young men whose attitudes they’re shaping. To solve that problem we need to get beyond our own echo chamber and reach out to Tate’s audience.

Creating change is about doing what's actually effective (and that’s not necessarily what’s safe or what comes naturally). Talking about our ideas with in our own bubble is not creating change. Too many would-be changemakers conflate talking with impact. But to create impact, we need to meet people where they are now – even people we might not have a natural affinity with – and gradually bring them closer to where we are.

We can't change a misogynist overnight. Trying to do that is unrealistic and will just be a waste of money. But maybe we can turn a young misogynist into someone who's not so sure about his ideas anymore, and gradually becomes open to questioning them. And from there, who knows.

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