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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Game-Changer Ad for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Provides Template for Dems

Democrats should study this impressive ad, produced by Naomi Burton and Nick Hayes of Means of Production, “a media production company that works exclusively for the working class.” The ad has been credited with influencing the upset Democratic primary victory (NY-14) of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and its messaging, technical innovations and story-telling techniques could be effective in other ads against Republicans in the closing weeks before the November elections:

In his article about the ad at The intercept, Zaid Jilani writes, “The video is tightly produced, crafting a narrative about an organizer-candidate who has the same sort of working-class background that is representative of the majority of New York’s 14th Congressional District…What you may be surprised to find out is that the video was produced not by Hollywood video production veterans or high-dollar political consultants, but by a ragtag pair of socialists based in Detroit.” It was “one of the most viral campaign videos of 2018.” Jilani adds,

Hayes was hesitant to disclose the campaign’s exact budget for the commercial, but told The Intercept that the entire project cost less than $10,000. Costs were kept low because virtually everyone in the ad was a community member, a volunteer, or a member of Ocasio-Cortez’s family. Much of the video was produced simply by following Ocasio-Cortez around during the campaign. The closing shot of the film is set in an apartment.

…The success of the video shoot raises the question: Why do candidates spend so much money on high-priced consultants who produce boring, safe videos, when ideologically aligned, camera-savvy activists can do it quicker, cheaper, and with more vitality?

Ocasio-Cortez adds in a tweet that “One great thing about our campaign video: not a single consultant was involved…I wrote the script. My family is the closing shot. That’s my actual bodega.” It will be an even greater thing if the ad inspires other young filmmakers to get involved in grass roots campaigns to elect Democrats on November 6th.

6 comments on “Game-Changer Ad for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Provides Template for Dems

  1. Victor on

    The fact that even The Democratic Strategist didn’t have this campaign in its radar shows how out of touch Democrat elites have become.

  2. Martin Lawford on

    I looked at both Crowley’s and Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign ads. The main difference I saw aside from the latter being much longer was that he spoke in generalities, she spoke in specifics. He said he was for “health care coverage for everyone who needs it.” She said she was for single-payer medical care. He said he was for “greater funding for our schools” although he didn’t say how much greater. He said he was for “protecting immigrants who work hard every day” but he didn’t say whether he supported amnesty for illegal aliens. She said she was for taxpayer-funded college, a federal jobs guarantee, and lighter sentences for felons. Her campaign was more specific about the policies she favors. She said, “We’ve got people, they’ve got money”, and since she defeated Crowley even though he outspent her by 17-1 her remarks sounds accurate.


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