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'Demon Sheep' ad from Carly Fiorina goes viral

Updated 2:18 p.m.
By Garance Franke-Ruta
California senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina (R) on Wednesday released a highly unusual attack ad featuring a red-eyed man dressed as a sheep crawling on all fours in a meadow. The spot prompted a wave of jokes on Twitter overnight, as well as some deftly calculated mockery from critics of her campaign, including her opponents.

The point of the ad is to deliver a message about Fiorina's opponent in the Republican primary, Tom Campbell: The economics professor and former congressman is running on a platform of fiscal restraint, but the ad accuses him of just wearing fiscally conservative sheep's clothing. (Skip to 2:25 in the video above if you just want to see the glowing eyes.)

It didn't take long before the ad went viral online. Republican new media strategist Patrick Ruffini, who has suggested that Fiorina wasn't the most electable Republican in the race to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) and whose communications firm Engage does "web strategy" work for Campbell's campaign, was fast to jump on the ad, tweeting about it Wednesday afternoon, "This afternoon, I briefly experienced the same rush as when I first beheld the Dean Scream. #carlyfornia"

By 6:30 p.m., he had taken action, replacing his Twitter picture with a still from the video and writing, "#DemonSheep avatar now available:" Meanwhile, "demon sheep" jokes lit up Twitter and one wag created an @demonsheep account there.

Sample tweet, in response to the question of whether he was planning to run for president: "The #demonsheep does not run. It chases." By mid-morning Thursday, the demonsheep had 624 followers, with the list still growing. Demon sheep groups were popping up on Facebook too.

Poll: Is the ad genius or just creepy?

The Campbell campaign used the ad as an opportunity to fundraise Wednesday night. "With America's deficit hitting $1.3 trillion this year, Tom's looking forward to a mature and substantive debate on serious issues, not silly antics," it e-mailed supporters. "Carly's ad likens fiscal conservatives to sheep, and Tom to a demon sheep, without mentioning a single federal issue or proposing a single solution to America's economic woes. Seriously."

Meanwhile, another of Fiorina's primary opponents, Chuck DeVore, a conservative state assembly member, launched the site, declaring itself the "Society for the Eradication of Demon Sheep from Our Political Discourse." It posted a video of the candidate along with the pledge, "We also promise to never use Demon Sheep in our political ads."

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also got into the spirit of goofball push-back, launching an online petition to "Tell Carly Fiorina to Make More Videos!"

"California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina's latest campaign video is a tour de force," the mock petition said. "Whether it's the first appearance of demon sheep eyes at 2:26, or the poor intern crawling across the grass at 2:53, it defies easy description. Sign our petition. Tell Carly Fiorina to make more videos, preferably featuring farm animals."

The Fiorina ad's unofficial moniker isn't the first time "demon sheep" has populated the online imagination. A 2008 "demon sheep" video shows a real sheep in a skull mask chasing a frightened herd.

But it's clearly now the best-viewed version, having drawn more than 103,000 views since release.

By Garance Franke-Ruta  |  February 3, 2010; 4:41 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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And the FCINO -- omg, what a horrible mouthful of an acronym. How about GWLABTBAWRTWIAFCINO --

"Guy Who Lies About Balancing the Budget and Will Raise Taxes Who Is a Fiscal Conservative in Name Only."

Posted by: elizestrada | February 5, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Why do they keep flashing to the one sheep chewing something? Or is that supposed to be the sheep talking (i.e., narrating the whole video)?

If I lived in CA I think I'd vote for Campbell solely on the basis of this ad being so bad. But it is funny-bad, no doubt.

Posted by: ChrisDC | February 5, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Yikes. I didn't know anything about Fiorina until I saw this and then checked out her website. She looks like some experiment with chromosomes, like someone through a y into the xx mix.

Posted by: pat93401 | February 4, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

yes, oxhead1 - it sticks with you - for all the wrong reasons. It makes Fiorina look creepy and amateurish and only creepy incompetents would vote for her.

Posted by: DCcomm | February 4, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Insane. Not just the imagery but the positions and "logic". Good luck California. You are going to need it.

Posted by: croaker69 | February 4, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

As a disinterested Democrat, I have to say that the very debate over this ad proves that it is a good one. It may be amateurish and creepy, but it does stick with you.

Posted by: oxhead1 | February 4, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I just hope she is ends up running against Barbara Boxer.... children... the right are children!

Posted by: ANTGA | February 4, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

In my past life, as an engineer who worked in Silicon valley for over thirty years and consulted with HP engineers on many occasions, during Fioina's rein I might add. This women was not respected or liked. She nearly destroyed the company. Her strong point were NOT, information, communication, knowledge or the ability to think abstractly. Incompetence and hubris defined her. She never should have been given the massive severance package she received when she was fired.

Posted by: morphylius | February 4, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Isn't she the same fiscal policy consultant to McCain during the presidential campaign in 2008? She fell flat then, does she feel avoiding talking issues and spewing fear-mongering as is the typical republican sentiment to do the most effective way to get the electorate to listen to her?

This "modern" republican party is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Posted by: ewjazzed | February 4, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Everybody is critisizing the ad but I think it is exactly right. There are too many repubs out there that should be called Dems. They are not true fiscally conservative.

Posted by: captgrumpy | February 4, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

IGNORAMOUSES! - - that's how my 10 and 8 year olds spell it!

Posted by: ANTGA | February 4, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Why do conservatives act like children? Scare ads, fear mongering, name calling, outbursts during State of The Union addresses, screaming at McCain/Palin rallies, claiming god as on their side???????? Sounds like my 10 and 8 year olds.... IGNORAMOUSES!

Posted by: ANTGA | February 4, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

It's creepy, but people have come to expect that of Republicans.

And rather ironic though, I have to say, coming from a woman who ran HP into the ground before she was finally let go!

Posted by: B2O2 | February 4, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

This is so f'ing bizarre it's funny. This doesn't do anything but make the Fiorina campaign look bad. It's like a spoof of a bad ad. I would never vote for a campaign that produced this. With all the money that will now be infused into campaign ads, we should all get into the ad business. Surely, my high school son and I can make an ad at least as good as this. We could make millions!!

Posted by: DCcomm | February 4, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

May God help those poor sheeple in California. We had Carly as our CEO when I worked for HP, and most workers couldn't stand her style of management. It's just terrible she won't baaaaa-ck off.

Posted by: any1 | February 4, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

In the UK elections 1997, there was a famous ad also featuring demon eyes ...,9350,449562,00.html

Posted by: bryony2 | February 4, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

It's my understanding that the FEC has called a special, emergency meeting to consider requiring a new disclaimer for all political advertising:

"No sheep were harmed during the filming of this ad."

Posted by: jeffersonian1 | February 4, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

This woman is toxic and desperately sick.

Posted by: Lalady | February 4, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Demon Lambchop?

Posted by: ramona54 | February 4, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

is that a racist remark?

Posted by: simonsays1 | February 4, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The only response to this ad that I can think of is the following video clip from Woody Allen's movie: "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask" (1972)

Yes, it's the Stavros Milos scene, and it's PG by today's standards:

Carly's campaign managers really need to be restrained from hanging around livestock, for their own good.

Posted by: Extempraneous | February 4, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Its kind of like those product commercials you can remember for their quirkiness, but can't recall the product.

Posted by: trident420 | February 4, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Could this be the new Republican slogan:

So many sheep, so little time.

Posted by: creatia52 | February 4, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Could this be the new Republican slogan:

So many sheep, so little time.

Posted by: creatia52 | February 4, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I do say, Man,
I come from a long long line of wackers,
and I say, I think I am outraged at the
inference, I do say.

You keep proud jeff! wacker.

Posted by: simonsays1 | February 4, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Yes Jeff Wacker!
Meg Whitman really
need to slur her "s's"
much lessssssss...
what's that in your hand?

Posted by: simonsays1 | February 4, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

This is a sad as people/sheeple acusing
obama of being the Anti-Christ,
or a Muslim Spy.
I mean, how would we really know,
until it is too late?

Posted by: simonsays1 | February 4, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Hilariously poor execution aside, the content of the ad is really sad. It's really incredible that so many people equate reducing deficits with cutting taxes. It's like if I noticed my family couldn't pay the bills and decided to fix the problem by quitting my job. Unreal.

On the bright side, at least Carly Fiorina's kids didn't get kicked out of their student clubs at Princeton for their habitual use of racial slurs. (I'm looking at you, Meg Whitman.)

Posted by: jeffwacker | February 4, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

OK I'll leave the full unpacking and deconstruction of this ad to a Comparative Literature student or English major returning for their Ph.D., but when it opens with ***sheep*** as "Men we admire...aspire to be.." you know you're in Crazyland.

This is one of those rare ads that has everyone from both parties laughing really hard. Kumbaya!

Posted by: Extempraneous | February 4, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Move over Palin, there's a new crazy in town....

Posted by: Axisofstupidity1 | February 4, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Who is she going for with this ad? The Toxic Avenger/Faces of Death Community?

Posted by: Extempraneous | February 4, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I think what this conclusively proves is that Carly Fiorina and her campaign consultants are sheep lovers who make commericals with exceptionally low production values and metaphors that are impossible to understand without being stoned out of your mind.

In other words, they're nuts.

Posted by: Extempraneous | February 4, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow that is the freakiest thing I've ever seen. California is crazy.

Posted by: Extempraneous | February 4, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Yep -- all we need is another failed CEO in the senate. Fiorina isn't fit to sweep the floor of the senate, let alone actually be a U.S. senator -- heaven help us.

Posted by: Frank57 | February 4, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I love California.

Posted by: MEppinger | February 4, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Great advertisement!!!
Go Carly, GO.

Posted by: myopinion3 | February 4, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I have one question, where does Carly Fiorina get her drugs?

Posted by: Raiche58 | February 4, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

FergusonFoont | February 4, 2010 11:14 AM
"..since the days of the irresponsible Prop 13 have insisted on adamantly blocking any tax any time for anything.."

The only part of prop 13 that was irresponsible was requiring a two-thirds vote to raise taxes but did not require the same to cut taxes. Prior to prop 13, property taxes were driving older people out of their homes. Depending on property taxes to finance government is not fair. California could have rectified the tax situation 30 years ago by increasing the income tax.

Posted by: The-Historian | February 4, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

If the comments about Tom Campbell are true, I'd say he sounds like a pretty reasonable guy. Anyone who thinks California is going to get out of its hole with tax cuts is deluded. State services have already been cut to the bone. The state has to raise taxes somehow, whether it's income, gas or vehicle registration. (Arnold did great damage to the state by terminating the vehicle registration tax. It was fair, and had been in place for years.) A gas tax would go far to wean us off fossil fuels.

As a Californian, if I were a Republican, my vote would be for Campbell. I'm not, however -- I'm a big fan of Barbara Boxer.

Posted by: emm2 | February 4, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Carly was a diaster for HP. Look at its stock price while she was CEO and after. California beware! Her ambition vastly exceeds her talent.

Posted by: thinkingoutloud2 | February 4, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: charlietuna666 | February 4, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Carly Fiorina very nearly destroyed the reputation (and the fiscal health) of Hewlett-Packard, one of America's most honored corporations. Now, thanks to so-called "fiscal conservatives" who, since the days of the irresponsible Prop 13 have insisted on adamantly blocking any tax any time for anything, California may not have the reputation or the one-time fiscal health enjoyed by Hewlett-Packard before the power-mad Ms. Fiorina became their CEO, but I am quite sure that, as bad as things have become in California, they can get worse.

And they certainly will if Carly Fiorina wins. This is a woman that you DEFINITELY do not want to hold the reins of power, because she is certain to abuse them for the benefit of the few, not the many.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | February 4, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Remember when Carly Fiorina ran HP and she was CAUGHT READ HANDED hiring a private Investigator to tap phones at the LA Times of Reporters doing a story on HP. She also paid her PI to tap the phones of her own Board of Directors to spy on them too!!

Why is she NOT IN JAIL???

Because HP paid out MILLIONS & MILLIONS in hush money and bribed the DA to drop the charges!!

Never, Never Ever Again should you TRUST a Republican...They ALL are a bunch of Thief's, Cheats, Crooks & Liars who CAN"T BE TRUSTED EVER AGAIN...NO BUSH TYPE OF REPUBLICAN EVER AGAIN!!

Posted by: imZandor | February 4, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

2 things:

1. My best friend and I made something of comparable quality using a camcorder back in high school. This is like a farce of itself.

2. Fiorina is throwing stones from a paper-thin glass house. She - almost impossibly - drove HP into thr ground while simultaneously becoming the poster pin-up girl for amoral executives (with the HP spy scandal).

Based on this, Fiorina is absolutely bats**t crazy.

Posted by: dsk36 | February 4, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Uggghhh Demoncrats Bad....Repubican't good......take 12 step test for conservative values.....Repubican't values godlike....uggghhhh.....Demoncrats values no easy to understand that a caveman can ....well you know the rest.....

Posted by: COhighlander | February 4, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Best AD EVER. Hysterical. Coffee almost up my nose.

Posted by: Furioso | February 4, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: staxnet | February 4, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

This is typical mindless Republican. This woman is to be taken seriously???

Posted by: pkbishop1 | February 4, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Ok well that is just plain creepy, weird, off the wall and crazy hey I just described the ReubliCONS

Posted by: lildg54 | February 4, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

If "Ms Fiorina was run out of HP on a rail and then out of the McCain campaign on a rail. ", let's hope California will be her third rail.

If this ad is representative of her campaign, she has no chance.

Posted by: pKrishna43 | February 4, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

carly is desperate. she shouldn't be elected to dog catcher. the woman has rarely voted, and ruined lucent, hp, compaq when she was their ceo. apparently she does have some supporters in california but hopefully a small minority, the same that support palin.

Posted by: joey3 | February 4, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I, for thousands, LOVE the ad. It makes me feel all giggly and warm. It's different and it's got people talking. Only time will tell whether voters in California think it makes Fiorina a better or worse candidate. Were she in my state, I'd vote for her just for making me laugh my arse off for nearly 24 hours because let's face it, she is qualified. Crazy demonsheep movie aside.

Posted by: SickofMikeBaisden | February 4, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Well at least she admits their constituents are like sheep, following the herd.

Posted by: DPoniatowski | February 4, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Ummm... is she saying the voters of California are sheep?

Posted by: spamndie | February 4, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Fiorina is crazy -- like a fox.

This 3+ minute ad was never destined to be a commercial. It was created purely as a media virus.

And it's been all over the place -- and the woman didn't spend one thin dime buying time.

Posted by: trippin | February 4, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Wow! Not only is she using inappropriate animal metaphors, but she's also equating Tom Campbell to a demon! The significance of the red glowing eyes is definitely an attempt to suggest Satanic influences... don't vote for Tom Campbell you good, conservative Republicans because a vote for Tom is a vote for the devil!

Yikes, is this the leadership the right really wants??

Posted by: lballen69 | February 4, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: dan_of_dc | February 4, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: steampunk | February 4, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

This reminds me of the old Gumby animated kids show, only in a perverse evil way. As an adult, watching Gumby is like witnessing what it must be like to experience an acid trip. You see it and think, "Whoever made that had to be on something." The big difference is that Gumby was endearing. This ad also had to be conceived (and approved) by people clearly under the influence, only they got hold of some bad stuff and experienced a trip that rivals the one Tim Robins was on in the movie "Jacob's Latter" for creepiness. I wander if Ms. Fiorini's firing from HP had anything to do with a failed drug test.

Posted by: grantmh | February 4, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Carly Fiorina is SUCH a jerk.

Posted by: nicekid | February 4, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Operative phrase - "attack ad."

More evidence the Republicans don't have a plan, platform or clue.

Fiorina already proved as CEO of Hewlett-Packard she hasn't a clue on how to run a business. Why would anyone want her as part of a team running a country? Just doesn't add up.

Posted by: BigTrees | February 4, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Fiorina is just jealous that those 'sheep' aren't HER sheep. Little Bo Peep lost her sheep at HP, so now she wants someone else's sheep to follow her.

Posted by: momof20yo | February 4, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Here in California, we have 2 women, both ex high tech CEO's, running for high office as Republicans. Both have very deep pockets. Yet, there couldn't be a bigger contrast.

Meg Whitman running for governor has been extremely effective in raising her profile and her ads have been well received. Whitman was widely praised, deservedly so, for the job she did at EBay.

Fiorina, on the other hand, is a disaster. I know plenty of HP employees. She was widely disrespected there, but not for the reasons she claims ('I made the hard choices'), but because she did a poor job and was not trusted by the people.

Fiorina picks on Campbell's failure to sign a 'no new taxes' pledge. The Republican party may make some political points with it, but its an idiotic pledge.

Campbell is not very inspiring, but he is a clear thinker (even though I disagree with him on many things) and hopefully will destroy Fiorina in the primaries. Campbell never received a $40million golden parachute for failing at a job -- we'll see if competence is more important than money in running for Senate in California.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | February 4, 2010 4:03 AM | Report abuse

At least she's consistent. This is a apt follow up to her original "Carlyfornia Dreamin'" Website.

The former Ms. Sneed is nuts.

Posted by: rogied25 | February 4, 2010 3:32 AM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, getting fired as a CEO, that *is* an enormous accomplishment these days. Perhaps she should have worked in investment banking instead.

I love the use of the "sheep". They should have enhanced the image by hanging a little tea bag around each one's neck.

Posted by: kenhyde | February 4, 2010 3:31 AM | Report abuse

Wow! This is comletely discriminatory against men!

Posted by: DGSPAMMAIL | February 4, 2010 3:24 AM | Report abuse

This ad is bizarre for so many reasons. Peculiar sheep aside, the premise of the spoken content is also insipid. Is "Carly for California" (too cute, by the way) actually trying to blame a gubernatorial aide for a failed budget? What about the Governor who proposed it, or the State Legislature who passed it?

If Tom Campbell did in fact refuse to sign a "no new taxes" pledge, good for him. It's nice to see a Republican buck the party line. California is in the toilet, and they need to consider all revenue possibilities.

Posted by: pfallsgirl | February 4, 2010 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, WTF?
This might be the worst political ad in history.
I did like the freaky glowing eyed sheep dude at the end. I wonder if Carly straps one on a does the sheep dude in the *ss when the cameras not on?

Posted by: jeffc6578 | February 4, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: edlharris | February 4, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Unless Ms Fiorina can outsource the voting process, by no means impossible given the Supreme Court decision handing China and India influence on our electoral process, she hasn't got a prayer. She is a free traitor and outsourcing nut case so out of tune with the voters that I can't possibly see her handlers spinning her into anything even remotely acceptable to Tea Party members, Independents or moderate conservatives.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 4, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Carly loves sheep!

Carly loves sheep!

Carly loves sheep!


Posted by: angelos_peter | February 4, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Stay focussed on the FACTS. Her incompetent management cost HP shareholders 60% of their stock value, and cost 18,000 Americans their jobs.

Read what HP employees think of Carly Fiorina at

Posted by: bobn2 | February 3, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

THis is one Republican wannabe to another republican wannabe. All that corporate money that the Dems fear is already out there, and apparently somebody wants to spend some of it.

And it is just into February. It is going to be a long, nasty, campaign season.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 3, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow! And I thought the Michael Steele puppy ad in the Md gubernatorial campaign was inept. This disaster moves to the front of the pack in the "WTH were they thinking?" contest.

Posted by: whodat2 | February 3, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm in the wrong business. Someone actually got paid to make this garbage?

Posted by: whatdyousay | February 3, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

That was the creepiest ad I have ever seen. What was the Fiorina campaign thinking??

Posted by: mkmckoy | February 3, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

She wants to convince people that she should be governor of California with an ad that looks like it was written by a socially awkward 8th grader? (The taunting tone doesn't help either.)

That's one way to go.

Posted by: ncooty | February 3, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

When will people figure this out? Ms Fiorina was run out of HP on a rail and then out of the McCain campaign on a rail. Seriously, how bad could she be if an organization that not only tolerated but welcomed Sarah Palin tossed Ms Fiorina aside? If a constituency votes her into office, they'd better start looking for transmitters in their bathrooms.

Posted by: turnbulld | February 3, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

The most bizarre ad I've ever seen.

Posted by: antifish | February 3, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was wierd.

Posted by: eatinglowonthefoodchain | February 3, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was excellent!

Posted by: IamOverit | February 3, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

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