Go viral with Bus Project contest!

Charlie Burr

Art11Two months ago, a relatively unknown internet strategist and Obama supporter, Phil DeVellis (posting as Parkridge47), made the now-famous Vote Different ad challenging Senator Clinton's inevitability as the Democratic nominee. Not authorized by the Obama campaign, the spot by this everyday supporter took on a life of its own, getting more than three million views online and a good amount of cable news airtime. Not bad for a spot produced in an afternoon on a laptop.

The remarkable thing about it is not just the content -- although it's a strong spot -- but how it underscores just how democratic the technology is for citizen-activists. From the creator:

I made the "Vote Different" ad because I wanted to express my feelings about the Democratic primary, and because I wanted to show that an individual citizen can affect the process. There are thousands of other people who could have made this ad, and I guarantee that more ads like it--by people of all political persuasions--will follow.

This shows that the future of American politics rests in the hands of ordinary citizens.

Phil's right -- it won't just be enthusiastic Obama supporters making their voices heard. And thanks to the good folks at the Oregon Bus Project, you can test your own laptop-ad-generating skills a little closer to home.

This year's Zero to :60 contest with the Bus Project will seek the most compelling 60-second T.V. spot "inspiring your fellow citizens to volunteer a day in support of democracy." Entries must be turned in by noon, May 31st, 2007. Get more details here.

Winners will have their spots shown on network television, and all finalists will be featured online. Did you volunteer for a campaign last cycle? If so, was it your first time? What did you like about it? How would you encourage your friends to get involved if they've never helped a local race? If you had :60 seconds to make your pitch for grassroots democracy to thousands of households, what would you say?

Discuss. And, submit entries here.

  • spicey (unverified)

    one of my favorite moments in a campaign was campaiging against Measure 37 in Gresham a couple years ago. One night I was walking in this neighborhood and it was getting dark, we were out till about 9pm, and it was the night of the second Kerry/Bush debate. Or, maybe third. Anyway, I really wanted to see it, and happened upong this elderly lady who was watching, was a Bush supporter, and yet let me in, and we watched a bunch of it together. It was a really lovely experience. Sitting in her living room, each rooting for different candidates, but enjoying the experience together. i like the idea of making commercials at home, may give this a shot. thanks.

  • (Show?)

    Phillip DeVellis is not really an unknown. He was the internet coordinator for Sherrod Brown's Senate campaign in 2006. I worked with him. Smart guy.

    Glad to see he's doing well.

  • (Show?)
    <h2>True. Thus the "relatively" in front of "unknown." I agree that DeVellis is a bright and talented guy -- you should follow in his footsteps and submit an ad if you're so inclined. You'd have a unique perspective as a former candidate.</h2>

connect with blueoregon