I LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY, where most young people, perhaps due to living in tiny apartments, don’t have televisions. This could also be a generational thing, related to our preference for the interactive nature of the Internet over passively watching television. But the reality is, for most Americans outside my demographic, television is a constant presence at home and therefore a significant source of news and ideas.
TV commercials make up a large part of what viewers encounter. They tell you what to buy, where to travel on vacation, and who to vote for. Commercials are powerful in that they influence decision-making. But unless you are part of an organization that is extremely well-funded, it’s difficult for most political groups or individuals to leverage the influencing power of TV commercials.
Google TV Ads might change all that – and it’s already happening with a commercial for Occupy Wall Street that aired recently during a variety of widely watched TV shows nationwide, on networks like Fox News and Bloomberg Business TV.
Filmmakers David Sauvage and Glenn Grossman produced the video because they wanted to help bring the everyday reality of Occupy Wall Street to people who only saw mainstream media coverage. They uploaded the video to YouTube, and it went off into viral wonderland. Then it caught the attention of Colin Mutchler, who runs a crowdfunding platform called LoudSauce that aims to empower everyday people with the ability to make TV commercials.
Now, Sauvage and Grossman are fundraising on LoudSauce for two more TV ads that they hope will better inform the public about who is behind Occupy Wall Street.
“What’s new here is that, in a decentralized, slightly chaotic way, this money can be raised so quickly,” said Mutchler. “It’s not top-down – nobody sent out an email from, like, MoveOn or any other groups [to support the ad]. It spread through personal networks. At the end, it had raised over $6000.”
“Most people think TV advertising is out of the realm of possibility, but it’s actually reachable,” continued Mutchler. The Occupy Wall Street ad has probably reached about three million viewers thus far, he added. “We want to help citizens, small groups, nonprofits, people who don’t usually think about spending money on advertising,” he said of LoudSauce.
After Occupy’s abrupt and dramatic eviction of Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park, the movement is working hard to continue on, and they stand to benefit from positive publicity more than ever.
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Rachel Signer is a Brooklyn, NY-based freelance journalist, focused on writing about social change and innovative solutions to systemic problems. Prior to becoming a journalist, she earned a master's in sociocultural anthropology at The New School and has done ethnographic research in Latin America and Africa. Her website is rachelsigner.com.
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