Dartmouth Student's Obama Ad Wins Moveon.org Contest

This story was written by Rebecca Cress, The Dartmouth

A cartoon depicting Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., finding simple solutions to problems too complicated for President George W. Bush won Reggie Schickel 09 the Most Original Ad award in MoveOn.orgs Obama in 30 Seconds video competition on Monday. His submission, What We Can Draw from Obama, was selected from a pool of 1,100 entries submitted by students and semi-professional and professional filmmakers and advertisers.

What We Can Draw from Obama opens with an animated Bush walking repeatedly into a wall. Schickel reaches his own hand into the frame, plucks Bush out of the scene and sketches a cartoon Obama in Bushs place. The animated Obama, in turn, grabs Schickels pen to draw a ramp, which he uses to scale the wall that was blocking Bush.

Schickel submitted his advertisement for judgment by a public YouTube audience and a private panel of judges, MoveOn.org spokesperson Daniel Mintz said. The panel of 24 judges included celebrities such as Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jesse Jackson and Julia Stiles.

Both the public audience and private panel used three categories of criteria to make their decisions, Mintz said. Half of the judgment was based on an ads overall impact, which Mintz described as persuasiveness and memorability. Another 25 percent was granted for originality and the final 25 percent was awarded for consistency with what MoveOn.org called Obamas positive message.

While Mintz does not know if any specific element of Schickels ad stood out to judges, he said the ad overwhelmingly outpaced all of the other entries in the originality category based on number of votes.

It was a fresh new take, he said. It really impressed us, and it was quite set apart.

Schickels submission may be broadcast on television as the Obama campaign moves forward, Mintz said. The overall contest winner, Obamacam, will be aired on CNN in Ohio, Colorado and Wisconsin, he added.

Schickel said his goal was to capture what he liked about Obama in a way that would be creative and entertaining. He added that he tried to make an ad that was very simple and clearly expressed his point.

Schickel used black and white animation for his submission. He said he had taken some animation courses, including Film 38, Advanced Animation, and therefore an animated ad seemed like something he had could create in a reasonable amount of time, he said. The ad comprised about 200 drawings, Schickel said, and it took him about 15 hours to assemble the drawings, music and sound.

By including his own hand in some of the frames, Schickel hoped to convey that an individual could influence the election, he said.

MoveOn.org heavily publicized the contest, which began in March. Shickel said he heard about the contest through the web sites advertising campaign. Because of the publicity, the panel of famous judges and a $20,000 gift certificate prize for the overall competition winner, Schickel believed that some of the submissions would come from professional filmmakers, he said.

MoveOn.org did not solicit data on how many entries came from college students as compared to professionals, Mintz said, adding that he was particularly impressed that Schickels ad fared so well in comparison to the semi-professionally and professionally made ads. MoveOn.org targeted film students in their publicity of the competition, Mintz said, although he does not know what, if any, effect that had.

Another video recognized in the contest featured Rider Strong, who played Shawn Hunter on Boy Meets World. Schickel said it was exciting to be a winner in the same competition.

It feels good to be in the company of actors, Schickel said. I definitely watched Boy Meets World, so when saw [Strongs] ad I thought, Wait a minute!

MoveOn.org is a family of organizations, including a nonprofit that emphasizes education on civic issues and a political action committee, which mobilizes to promote progressive candidates. It is funded by individual contributions from members of the nonprofit organization and the PAC.

At the end of January, the MoveOn.org PAC endorsed Obama, Mintz said. It was the first time the PAC, on behalf of the larger family of companies, supported a specific candidate. Mintz said any candidate would need at least 66 percent of member votes to receive an endorsement, and Obama received more than 70 percent. MoveOn.org has more than 3.4 million members, said Trevor FitzGibbon, who is vice president of media relations for Fenton Communications and oversees MoveOn.orgs media relations.

Schickel has not previously been involved in the Obama campaign, he said.

Schickel is a member of The Dartmouth Staff.