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Occupy Movement Going Against Super PACs with Crowdfunded TV Ads

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, April 26 2012

Occupy supporters are responding to the influence of Super PAC money with a relaunch of an effort to crowdsource TV spots in support of their movement with LoudSauce, a platform for crowdfunding TV time.

In October, commercial director David Sauvage had used LoudSauce to raise $6,000 to run an OWS ad using Google TV Ads, and later raised $15,826 to run three more ads.

Gina Levy, a key organizer behind the revamped Occupy Spots initiative, was impressed by the efforts of Sauvage and Colin Mutchler, co-founder of LoudSauce, whom she is now working with, but saw room for improvement.

With the fall campaign, she said, donating was an "all or nothing" effort where supporters could either give money for all the ads or none. One of the comments at the time, she said, was that supporters wanted to have the option to give different amounts of money to different ads or to only fund one of them. Building the platform to support that ability pushed the launch of the new initiative back a few months, she said.

At the same time, Occupy is now "ramping up for the spring" and for the election, Levy noted. With Super PACS, "you have ten billionaires controlling all the political messaging in this country," she said. With the Occupy Spots initiative, "not only will the 99 percent be creating the message but the 99 will be supporting the messaging."

With the new initiative, she said she hopes to "open up" the process started in the fall.

Until May 21st, supporters can submit ads they created to the campaign. The goal is to altogether raise $150,000 for the media buy, production cost and LoudSauce. All the individual ads that raise at least $1000 will be aired on national TV, and for individual ads that raise over $5,000, creators will receive 20 percent of the amount raised for production costs.

On of two initial submissions is the following:

The hope is, on the one hand, to reach out to people who already support the Occupy message to become more engaged, she said, but also to air the ads in more Republican parts of the country to encourage those viewers to open their minds. The first spot aired over 170 times this past winter on Fox News, Charlie Rose and other broadcasts, according to the LoudSauce page.

Levy says she envisions the campaign could produce between 10 and 20 ads. The Citizens United court decision is disengaging, with the message that "if you don't have a a lot of of money, you can't participate [in the democratic process]," she said. "It's the beginning of the end of the democracy when that happens." The initiative is an effort to "reclaim democracy."

A recent survey echoes those thoughts. A poll released earlier this week by the Brennan Center for Justice indicated that that the influence of Super PAC donors is discouraging one in four Americans from voting.

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