Social Media Campaign Defeats Simon Cowell for Christmas No 1. Spot

An English couple, Jon and Tracy Morter, got fed up with Simon Cowell’s “cookie-cutter creations” gaining the No. 1 Christmas spot in Great Britain. So, they launched a Facebook/Twitter campaign to rage against what they called Cowell’s “stranglehold on the holiday.” 

With pop stars from “American Idol” and “Britain’s Got Talent” owning the top spot for the past several years, and a multi-million dollar media campaign behind Cowell’s “X Factor” winner Joe McElderry, Jon Morter decided it was a time for a change.

Using Facebook and Twitter, Morter encouraged people to “fight the establishment” by buying a record that’s really the antithesis of McElderry’s ballad: Rage Against the Machine’s 1992 release “Killing In the Name.”

More than a million people have joined the FB fan page and the win is the first Christmas No. 1 in Britain to be earned by downloads only – with around 500,000 purchases last week about 50,000 more than McElderry’s “The Climb.”

As we all know, getting the right online influencers behind you makes all the difference. For Morter, it was comedian Peter Serafinowicz, who on December 15th, urged his 268,000-plus Twitter followers to join in the fight. Even with Sir Paul McCartney and former “X Factor” winners throwing their support behind McElderry, Rage still came out ahead.

Upon learning that he had won, Morter was initially lost for words. “Oh bloody hell,” he said at first. Then added, “I think it just shows that in this day and age, if you want to say something, then you can – with the help of the internet and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. If enough people are with you, you can beat the status quo.”

Cowell called Morter on Saturday night to congratulate him on the campaign. Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t try to hire the former DJ and logistics expert!

Rage Against the Machine have pledged to give all profits of the single to the homelessness charity Shelter, and will perform a free victory gig in the UK to thank those who bought their single.

“Rage was built for moments like this,” the band’s guitarist Tom Morello told The Associated Press. “We are honored to have the song that liberated the U.K. pop chart.

McElderry, who is just 18, was gracious in defeat, emphasizing his joy at winning last week’s “X Factor” finals and recognizing that the No. 2 spot still isn’t bad.

A victory for the anti-establishment…and for social media marketing.

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