This is the second part of “Marketing Lessons from a Mafia Leader.” You can read the first part here.

After watching Sedat Peker’s second video, I thought that there was a marketing team behind curtains. I am still don’t know if it is true or not. He was very good at storytelling, and there were many symbolic items on his desk. In nearly all of his videos, he was using unique items to support his story. Here is an example.

You can see a black-covered notebook, a book by Mario Puzo (Author of Godfather), binoculars and, religious objects (Zulfikar, Al-Aqsa Mosque — after Israel Soldiers Attack.)

After his first three videos, the press started to analyze these kinds of symbolic items. (Read: T24 — Ahmet ŞIK Article)

According to his story, he was a victim. He was a loveful father, and his dignity trampled. He always loved Turkey, and he even committed the crime for the state. He was a devoted patriot and didn’t deserve this kind of operation from his collaborators.

After supporting the Ak Party government for more than 20 years, it was time to switch sides. His claims about Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu were shocking for the public. He started to confess, and he blamed the government for the illegal issues in Turkey. He decorated his revenge as the dignity of a father whose children were abused by police.

This transformation story is like old-time myths. A bad guy converts himself into a good guy. I’m sure you heard too many stories for a bandit who started as a criminal and became a movement leader. In Turkey, we have Zeybeks, for example. Zeybeks were bandits in the Aegean Region of Turkey who was torturing local people. When Turkey’s Independence War started, they became small troops for the army and helped the military to won on the battlefield. There are a lot of stories, songs, and myths that honor them today.

Another example is “V for Vendetta.” The hero of the movie is Guy Fawkes. He was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics who was involved in the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. He was a traitor until the movie. After the change in popular culture, he and his mask became the symbol of anarchism. As a result, we have a hero & anti-hero transformation story. Now, it is time to tell the marketing part of it. A mafia leader is repositioning himself as a dissident, and he is relaunching the “Sedat Peker” brand.

Target Audience, Segmentation, and Beachhead Strategy

Maybe the most important step for marketing is understanding the target audience. You have to decide who is your customer and what they consume. In politics, this is not too complicated. If you have a stick to disturb power, you will always get support from the opposition. Your blames can share on social media organically without an editorial barrier. Supporters never care about true or false. Supporters only think they are right, and they never miss the chance to kick the opposite side.

If you have such insights about politics, it is easy to manipulate crowds. The only thing you have to do is feeding crowds with new arguments.

In this case, Sedat Peker had a winning idea for segmentation. As you know, winning an election and get to power is not the only war for candidates. Having a particular position in the party and having an influential role in party management is also essential. If you want power, you will get enemies on the dissent parties and also in your party. After 20 years, President Erdoğan is still the leader of the Ak Party. But there is a shadowed war on being a successor in the Ak Party. So instead of attacking the Ak Party (or President Erdoğan) for the whole, Sedat Peker struck only one man, Minister Süleyman Soylu, one of the future successors of the party. With this clever strategy, on day one, He got listeners’ from dissents and some part of AKP for his story. This marketing segmentation approach allowed him to divide Ak Party also.

OK, but who are Sedat Peker’s enemies? He is very good at using routine on his videos. Every video starts with a roll call. He asks, “Süleyman Soylu, are you here? Pelicans (government-supported journalist group,) are you ready? Mehmet Ağar, are you there? According to the videos’ content, he repeats this routine opening theme. By saying the names, he increases tension and gives an excitement to the audience about new illegal information.

Strong Brand Purpose & Reason to Believe

In his first videos, there was only one target and one reason for his revenge: “The grievance of his daughters on police operation.” By using this victim leverage, he raised his claims step by step.

In his third video, he chose the “You are all going to lose to a camera and a tripod” phrase as a title. He repeated this message in this video and other videos also. Social media got crazy. Everybody was sharing this phrase. It was a headline for the newspapers. After one week, this saying became his brand’s motto.

This motto and public support shifted his story and his style. In a month, he became a social media star. Every weekend on Sunday morning, he was sharing a new video. Hundred thousands of people were starting to waiting at 7 a.m. for the latest video.

He repeated his motto again and again. He gave people a reason to follow, a feeling to shake the government. He took off his mafia leader clothes and dressed as a patriot warrior who fights against corruption and the deep state.

3H Content Strategy & Transmedia Storytelling

There is a successful 3H content strategy, especially for Youtube videos. However, it looks like someone tell that strategy to Sedat Peker. He exactly uses this 3H strategy. If nobody tells this strategy to him and he uses it, we have a natural-born marketer.

He knows instantly what hero content is and the importance of hub content. Every Sunday Morning, so he delivers a one-hour video. These are his “hub and hero” contents. Every video has a unique “headline” and a particular target. He uses the power of routine. He understands leader and follower mechanics. He professionally tweets one day before video sharing about the “objective” as a teaser. After his tweets, social media followers and journalists start to speculate about the content. His name usually becomes a trending topic, and he retweets some selected speculations to manipulate the conversation.

He uses Youtube and Twitter for sharing, but he also uses influencers and journalists to support his story. For example, he can quickly call some politicians, journalists, and other influencers and deliver some information about the following video. These people are a part of his transmedia storytelling strategy.

In his one-hour videos, he mentions especially journalists who wrote about him. Thus, he behaves to the journalists as a brand ambassador. He answers the questions from the speculators and gives thanks to them. This critical dialogue automatically provides eagerness for journalists to write about him.

As a part of delivering hero content strategy, he shared small clips on Twitter about corrupted journalists to support his blames. He even shared a Facetime video call with President Erdoğan’s nephew about the Turkish Secret Service help arms trafficking in Syria.

As a strategical part of the 3H strategy, he shared supportive content for hygiene. He was always a part of the conversation with his audience. He shared small clips about corrupted journalists to support his blames. He even shared a Facetime video call with President Erdoğan’s nephew about the Turkish Secret Service help arms trafficking in Syria.

In Turkey, censorship is a real big problem. Government-supported TV’s and newspapers ignore Sedat Peker’s story. Instead, these-sided channels promote Minister Süleyman Soylu as a hero for fighting terrorism and criminal organizations. Every week we see in the news on these channels about narcotic operations. A funny fact, we have an operation that is called the largest narcotics operation in Turkey which police caught no drugs. Sedat Peker blames Süleyman Soylu for ignoring real drug dealers and this kind of fake narcotics operations. To stop these speculations and defend himself, Süleyman Soylu started to give interviews and TV appearances.

Remember what Sedat Peker’s brand motto: “You are all going to lose to a camera and a tripod.” When Süleyman Soylu on TV, Sedat Peker was a live on Twitter. He answered nearly everything Soylu said and asked more questions than Soylu answered. He mentioned TV producers, broadcasters of the shows in his tweets and caught an opportunity to address inquiries directly to his enemy. Soylu’s strategy backfired because of Peker’s real-time marketing strategy and his follower’s RT support.


The last step of our story is optimization. After two months of a marketing campaign, it looks like Sedat Peker tried different sharing strategies, analyzed that, and learned many things from his audience. For example, in his first videos, the video length was around 45 minutes. However, in his recent videos, the video length increased to more than 70 minutes. I do not suppose he is A/B testing, but I think he is analyzing video and his engagement stats.

He chooses the prime time to share on Twitter. Then, he reads comments about him and delivers the following video content about these comments.

He also tracks Turkey’s agenda. For example, he promised not to share any video when President Erdoğan is at the NATO summit and meets Biden because of Turkey’s interests.

Still, I don’t know does he have a marketing team or consultant. If he is doing all this stuff without any professional help, we have a marketing expert here. I know too many marketers who don’t have any sense of what they do about marketing. He is not one of them.

What have we learned?

  • Digital marketing has an asymmetric power of communication. If you have a chance to surfing on trends, you can shake the market.
  • Listening is still the most crucial insight tool. Listen and talk with your customer sincerely.
  • Content is king, but optimization is the rule of sharpening your content ideas.
  • Symbols, icons, and other brand assets still matter. Positioning your idea, your product, your brand always needs a frame. This stuff gives you the power of framing.
  • Relaunching is not easy for a brand. You have to be brave and a warrior. You have to get your hands dirty and self-critic yourself hard. Without this challenge, you can not convince people.
  • Stories are human’s bugs. You can manipulate anybody by telling stories.
  • The 3H strategy works!
  • Don’t trust any state! :)