The French president continues to resist any categorization in “what a president should not do”. In a thirty-minute taped conversation at the Elysee Palace in the French capital, Emmanuel Macron interacted alongside France’s most popular YouTubers, Mcfly and Carlito, commenting on the jokes being told by either were false or true.
The video already has more than 12 million views, as the French media continue to question how to interpret the hybrid communication of “macronism”, which is not entirely political, nor entirely playful, and what is the symbolic effectiveness of ‘a head of state on Youtube.
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, the French-speaking analyst Raphaël Llorca shows that, in order to interpret the “Macron mystery”, it is necessary to observe three phenomena in its staging: the inversion, the simulation and the ‘intuition.
A reversal: from supply to demand
In 2017, the year of his election, Macron showed a strong tendency to supply, ignoring the contradictory aspirations of French society, and building his own “brand” (or representation device) on values, history. and signs.
In the video with Mcfly and Carlito, however, he invests in a logic of demand, betting on a very assumed marketing approach, where he seeks to position his message in front of segments of the population with well-defined expectations. Macron imitates the codes and customs of YouTubers, including his tone of voice and his vocabulary.
The expert says this strategy generally works, as Macron stands out in performance. In fact, in the video, he plays the “legal president, as the military president, the monarch president or the epidemiologist president may have done before, changing his wardrobe according to the expectations of the French public,” explains Llorca.
“Initially, the public only asks for trivial things, round, without harshness. With on-demand marketing, you only get a fluid image that slides and does not last,” recalls Llorca, citing the famous publicist Jacques Pilhan. And he comments that Macron must be careful with claims won immediately, because “there is a risk of reducing his symbolic potential in the long term.”
Simulation: conflict minimized
“One of the most striking characteristics of macronism is the rejection of conflicts: it either avoids them, or mitigates them, or prevents them or stifles them,” says Llorca. However, the expert acknowledges that what emerges in the YouTube show with Mcfly and Carlito is the “staging of a symbolic confrontation between the president and the influencers, which multiplies the signs of irreverence”.
On the one hand, YouTuber Mcfly is dressed in a bright yellow t-shirt, does push-ups and shows his muscles, makes a face at the president and rolls around in Eliseu’s garden. On the other hand, Carlito tells jokes about illicit “substances”, asks unsettling questions and openly challenges the presidential authority (“there are no hierarchies”, “we are the bosses anyway”).
Far from being the scene of a real nightmare for Macron, all this is in fact a great simulation “reminiscent of Carnival: the conflict is much more accepted and acceptable for the spectator who is circumscribed, in time and in space “, specifies the analyst.
Just like at the end of the carnival, the authority of the sovereign appears even increased because “the social domain, by letting the other side of the coin prevail for a very short period, provoked the desire for his reintegration into the whole body of society. , to put an end to the experience of disorder, ”declared the historian of ideas Jean Starobinski, quoted by Llorca.
Intuition: several images
How to manage the symbolic weight of a president in the age of social media? Should we continue to believe in the effects of “few words” or should we increase their presence on networks and in the media?
What’s interesting about the “joke contest” between Macron, Mcfly and Carlito, “is that it looks like a new approach is being tested, based on a hunch: in the age of multiple screens. , we have to build a multiple imaging device “, analyzes Raphaël Llorca.
“Formal on the BFM TV channel, Macron can appear martial and solemn on France 2 or TF1, familiar on Twitch and daring on YouTube. The maneuver is intelligent because it makes it possible to send messages with a wide spectrum of content and tones for very different ends. “, continues the analyst. Moreover, it makes it possible to” neutralize “the opposition, which does not know which speech to choose to attack.
“Every man has six or seven different faces in him. The art of communication isn’t about showing them all at once, or even choosing which one would be the real one. It’s about finding the right person for the right one. moment, “said Jacques Pilhan. And although with this video Macron confirms his fascination with the sign and the symbol, in the long run it will be necessary to see what traces these “symbolic manipulations” will leave in the public opinion, concludes Llorca.