Thanks Famous Hollywood Actors
By John Brabender
The left-leaning online world was raving about a brand new political ad just released from Joss Whedon. Whedon, if you don’t know, is a very talented Hollywood writer/director, and is responsible for TV hits like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and beloved movies including Toy Story and The Avengers series. But this time Whedon had turned his sights to the political arena, and social was fawning over his effort, so I was anxious to take a look.
In a 3-minute political video, called “Save The Day,” the Whedon political ad included direct to camera performances by A-list Hollywood actors such as Robert Downey, Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Ruffalo, Martin Sheen, Julianne Moore, James Franco, Don Cheadle, and more. Quite frankly, you assemble all of these talented artists in a movie, and I’m spending my money to see it. But my very first view of their “Save The Day” video immediately troubled me. It wasn’t that it was so over-the-top mean and derogative towards Donald Trump--as expected—but rather that it was so remarkably arrogant.
The ad begins with Robert and Scarlett telling us that Election Day is coming, and that this is an “important” election. Evidently this was meant to be breaking news to the rest of us.
Then Mark Ruffalo tells viewers: “You might think it’s not important, you might think you’re not important.” The video quickly assures us that we are important! I guess their point being when important people tell you that you are important, well, then you are important!
And then, to make no doubt just how important it is that we listen to them, we are told you only get this many famous people together when it’s really important: like “fighting a disease” or “an ecological crisis.” I guess they sort of forget about the Oscars, Emmy’s, MTV Awards, Screen Actor Guild Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood Film Awards, Critic Choice Awards, and all the other self-congratulatory red carpeted events they hold for themselves.
Like many movie fans, I have great respect for these actors and their work. I wish them continued success making many more fantastic movies. And I look forward to seeing them.
But when they think their stardom has somehow given them greater insights into world matters than the rest of us, or that all of America is sitting in wait for Beverly Hills to guide us, they need a dose of reality.
This was the reason our firm decided we had no choice but to create a response to Hollywood’s Save the Day video.
In the middle of an already hectic election season, adding a 3-minute response to their video was not an easy lift. It had to be written. Cast. Filmed. And edited. With no real budget. And we were up against one- of the greatest casts ever assembled. But after a few days of hard work, it was done. But now what?
There was no money to promote our response. No famous celebrities to grab the press’s interest. And while I have about 2,000 twitter followers, Robert Downey, Jr has closer to 8 million. So when he says watch this video…well, it’s going to go viral.
Sitting in my DC area office on a Sunday afternoon in October I started to email some reporter’s explaining that I was about to tweet release a new ad responding to Hollywood’s “Save The Day” video. One responded that she thought it was interesting enough to write a brief story for the online version of “The Hill” newspaper. About 30 minutes later it was up. then tweeted a link to the spot and a link to her story. The reaction was immediate, and far beyond my expectation.
It became increasingly clear our response ad, through the use of humor and sarcasm, had tapped into a universal distain for Hollywood’s left-leanings and arrogance. The number of views started to rapidly climb, and the video was being extensively shared. Political sites ranging from Brietbart to Real Clear Politics started posting stories about our ad. Then tweets from people like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Eric Trump added more social fuel.
Traditional news sources then also started to cover our response. The New York Times even featured our ad in their “Ad of the Week” column.
I must confess, my favorite story was one published by the Hollywood Reporter. The piece talked about the original ad and our response ad. It also included a quote from Joss Whedon dismissing our response ad as a “cute” attempt to counter their Hollywood effort. I think that says all you need to know.
In the end, our response ad was viewed almost 15 million times. To put in perspective, the mid-season finale of “The Walking Dead” received about 10.8 million views. Thanks Hollywood actors!