“If I can not win my election, I will win for others,” is probably the motto of Danny Yatom, Maj. Gen. Res., Former Mossad chief and former MK. A strategic consulting firm he founded aided the victory of a new and almost anonymous party in the elections in Bulgaria.
Yatom, a former member of the Labor Party, formed a party called Israel Veterans in the last election, but decided not to run due to a low chance of passing the blocking percentage. However, he remains in politics – this time behind the scenes. As reported in Globes, Yatom founded the strategy company CIY GLOBAL with strategic consultants Ofer Inbar, Nevo Cohen and former intelligence officer Amar Yatom, his son.
One of their first customers was a new party in Bulgaria, which, like Israel, ran into several rounds of elections without a decision. The party was founded by two young Harvard graduates, who were appointed during the political chaos to ministerial positions in the technocratic government elected by President Boyko Borisov. The two, Economy Minister Kirill Petkov and Finance Minister Asen Vasilev, decided to form a shelf party before the last and third elections (held last month), as in Israel, and called it, “We Continue the Change.” They pledged to fight corruption and address an economy that has been hit very hard by Corona.
Right: Asen Vasilev and Kirill Petkov, leaders of the “We Continue the Change” party in Bulgaria / Photo: Associated Press, Valentina Petrova
At first the polls did not bode well. At first the support rate was 16%, but three weeks before the election it dropped to 10% in the polls. At this point, Yatom’s Israeli company entered the picture. The company admits that their main occupation was a negative campaign focused on competitors and especially on Borisov’s party, and on the personal corruption alleged against him. Among other things, pictures of Borisov in a state of intoxication were spread on social media, lying on his bed with a gun, gold bars and a pile of banknotes next to him. They also played on the national element and presented Borisov’s alliance to the Vogue party, which represents the Turkish minority in the country. The negative campaign, was based quite a bit on technological and digital tools (including bots), text messages, WhatsApps and targeting of specific audiences. The bots have entered large discourse groups and tried to produce a buzz of a corrupt leader who needs to be replaced, and young and talented people with advanced education who need to get the country out of the mud. The rise in electricity prices was also highlighted due to the failure to disconnect the gas pipeline, which is coming from Turkey to Europe.
The results were surprising. The “We Continue the Change” party received 25.7% of the vote – more than any other party, and is now conducting coalition negotiations.
An orphan told Globes that political campaigns, worldwide, have become a sophisticated integrative arena and competing parties need research and analysis, alongside creative content capabilities as well as advanced distribution capabilities.
Company CEO Nevo Cohen said that “we operated in commando mode. “After two days of meetings in Sofia, we analyzed the situation with the party leaders and the local team and activated our teams already on boarding a studio-studio that worked continuously, digital that worked while improving the performance and optimizations we did all the time.”