Help us reduce the corrupting influence of money in politics by creating a 30-second video ad that could run on national TV. Put on your creative hats and let’s win our democracy back!

Contest ends at 5:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 16, 2014. The sooner you post your video, the more time you'll have to get votes.

How it works

Inspired by MoveOn's "Bush in 30 seconds" video ad contest from a decade ago, we're asking citizens to create 30-second video ads that could be aired on national TV. Our all-star panel of judges – George Takei, Jason Alexander, Shepard Fairey, Zephyr Teachout, Marianne Williamson, Baratunde Thurston, Anna Galland and Cenk Uygur – will review the top entries and select the winners.

Because your ads will be freely licensed (CC-BY), anyone will be free to use or build on your ad (with attribution to you), so your creativity could inspire others too.

  1. Make a 30-second video to enter in one of these two categories (details below):
    • Category #1: General issue ads
    • Category #2: Candidate specific ads
  2. Submit your video by uploading it on YouTube, and then paste the link into this form. Be sure to choose a Creative Commons license when you upload the video, and label the ad as either GENERAL (category #1) or SPECIFIC (category #2) in all caps in the description of your video. Please also add the hashtag: #MAYDAYin30
  3. Share with your friends and ask them to vote for your ad! See below for selection process details and contact [email protected] with any questions.

We will feature and promote the winning ads on our site and on the web, and if the data shows it makes sense for the campaigns, we may air the ads in the districts.

We're excited to work on this contest in partnership with our friends at, and with support from partners, such as PCCC

Contest Categories

  1. General issue ads

    Create a 30-second video ad that makes compelling the importance of money in politics, and why we need to fundamentally reform the way elections are funded. Show us why the issue is important to you and your community, how it relates to other issues you care about, or why everyone should care.

  2. Candidate specific ads

    Create an ad that makes compelling voting for a MAYDAY.US reform candidate, based on the issue of money in politics. Your ad can be in support of the reform candidate as a champion on the issue, against their opponent, or a combination. MAYDAY.US candidates (so far!):

    Click here for more information for candidate specific ads. There's no need to add any of the disclaimer language at the end of the ad. If you win, we’ll do it for you. But leave at least 3 seconds at the end if you want it aired on TV.

We have entrusted our esteemed panel of “Supreme Court” judges to evaluate these videos against these criteria to select the winning entry in each category. Best of luck to all of our entrants!

Judging Details

Videos will be evaluated by our Contest Committee using the following criteria:

  • Does the video effectively communicate the MAYDAY message?
  • Does the video make compelling the importance of money in politics?
  • How creative is the video in delivering the concept/message?
  • Does the video have the “x” factor that a true political ad would need to move the needle on the issue of money in politics?
  • For videos in Category #2, candidate specific ads, does the video effectively support one of MAYDAY’s pro-reform candidates?

The Fine Print

  • We reserve the right to take down any content deemed by us to be off topic or inappropriate.
  • Selection process: Winners will be selected in each category by earning the highest number of votes. Top ten vote-getting videos in each category will be reviewed by a Contest Committee, composed of celebrity judges (George Takei, Jason Alexander, Shepard Fairey, Zephyr Teachout, Marianne Williamson, Baratunde Thurston, Anna Galland and Cenk Uygur) and Mayday staff. The Committee will select a winning video in each category. Within our discretion, the winning videos may be aired in district races.
  • All videos must be licensed freely (CC-BY).

Information for candidate specific ads

In polls that we conducted, we found that presenting the following information about our reform candidates and their opponents was most effective at getting voters to support our reform candidates.

MI-6 – Paul Clements

Paul Clements teaches at Western Michigan University and lives in Kalamazoo with his wife and daughters. Paul is running for Congress because he believes the voices of regular folks in Michigan are being drowned out by powerful special interests that fund campaigns and control Washington. Paul teaches about national economic strategy and he will fight for an economy that provides opportunities to hard-working people and small business owners, not just big corporations. He’ll fight for jobs that pay enough to provide for your family and he’ll stand up to corporate polluters to protect our health.

Clements’ opponent, Fred Upton has failed to hold oil companies like BP and Enbridge accountable when they spilled massive amounts of oil in the Gulf and in the Kalamazoo River, instead leaving taxpayers to pay for the clean up. At the same time, Upton owns as much as 250 thousand dollars in BP and Exxon stock and he’s taken over one-point-six million dollars in campaign money from big polluters like oil and gas companies.

Upton voted to give tax breaks to companies that ship American jobs overseas to countries like China and India. He also supports unfair trade laws like NAFTA that have sent thousands of Michigan jobs overseas.

Upton puts himself and his wealthy donors ahead of regular folks in southwest Michigan. Upton voted to protect perks for himself like taxpayer-funded health care for life, first class airfare, and he voted to give himself and the rest of Congress pay raises even though Congress isn’t getting the job done. He even voted to exempt Congressional insiders from insider trading laws, so his political friends can get rich quick from their work in Congress.

Upton voted to slash Medicare benefits in order to pay for tax cuts for the millionaires who fund his campaign. He voted to replace Medicare with a voucher that would not fully cover medical costs and force seniors to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket to insurance companies, a huge gift to the insurance companies that fund his campaign.

SD-SEN – Rick Weiland

Rick Weiland is running so that we can take back our country and our government from the big money that controls our economy and democracy. He wants to stop the sweetheart deals and bailouts that cause waste in government. He believes that every family farmer, rancher and working person in South Dakota deserves a fair shake and even playing field.

Instead of giving tax breaks to millionaires and big corporations that ship our jobs overseas, Rick Weiland will fight to increase the minimum wage, invest in education, and fight to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare.

Weiland’s opponent is Mike Rounds. As Governor, Rounds granted a lucrative, no-bid contract to a friend of his in order to establish the state’s version of the EB-5 citizenship for sale program, allowing foreign investors from China and India to immigrate to America legally in exchange for putting their money into South Dakota farming. The friend illegally then signed the program over to a private company he controlled that made millions of dollars in fees from the sale of EB-5 visas. Even worse, the crony that Rounds appointed is now under federal investigation, while Rounds received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash from people directly involved in the EB-5 program.

While Rounds was Governor, a foreign corporation, Powertech Uranium Mine, hired Rounds’ sister and brother-in-law to lobby him to weaken environmental protections and bar the state from monitoring the mine. Powertech had never mined uranium before but Rounds was willing to let them set up shop in the Black Hills with no oversight, allowing them to pump dangerous chemical solution into the ground, potentially polluting our groundwater.

IA-03 – Staci Appel

Staci Appel was born in Iowa and is from the rural town of Ackworth. Married for 18 years, she’s the mother of 6 and is a former financial consultant. She took her deep Iowa roots to the state senate and fought for Iowa’s backbone - middle class families, farmers, and small business owners. Staci championed universal pre-school and helped make Iowa the first state to require equal pay for equal work. The Senate Majority Leader said he had never seen a freshman legislator work as hard as her. Staci’s fed up with Washington politicians looking out for themselves and in Congress, she will bring practical solutions to get Congress working again.

Appel’s opponent, David Young, said he would vote to let insurance companies drop patients with pre-existing conditions, charge men and women different rates for the same policy, and refuse to cover mammograms and other preventive health care for women.

Young supports a plan to slash Medicare benefits in order to pay for tax cuts for the millionaires who fund his campaign. His plan replaces Medicare with a voucher that would not fully cover medical costs and force seniors to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket to insurance companies, a huge gift to the insurance companies that fund his campaign. He called the plan to slash Medicare a good thing.

Young’s campaign is bankrolled by wealthy special interests like the oil billionaire Koch Brothers. That’s because he will vote for their special-interest agenda of tax cuts for millionaires, taxpayer subsidies to oil companies, dismantling Medicare and Social Security, and shipping American jobs overseas.

NC-03 – Walter Jones

Representative Walter Jones is the only Republican Member of Congress to publicly support campaign finance reform. He is the only Republican co-sponsor to the Government by the People Act — legislation to match small donors’ contributions with public funds as a way to boost the voices of ordinary Americans. He was also the only Republican to support the DISCLOSE Act, legislation to reveal the donors behind dark money campaign advertisements. In addition to supporting reform legislation, Jones is a vocal critic of recent Supreme Court rulings – Citizens United v FEC and McCutcheon v FEC – those decisions dramatically increased the influence of moneyed interests over politics and policy-making.

NH-01 – Carol Shea-Porter

Representative Carol Shea-Porter is a champion of reform. She is a co-sponsor of the Government by the People Act and a vocal opponent of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. Shea-Porter also has a no-nonsense stance on dark money, and she’s challenged Frank Guinta to join her in asking Super PACs and advocacy organizations who don’t disclose their donors to stay out of the NH-1 race. In 2014, Carol Shea-Porter and her staff walked before she ran — joining the New Hampshire Rebellion both in January on its 190-mile walk through New Hampshire, and on July 5th in her district. There’s no question that a victory for her is a victory for fundamental reform.

Shea-Porter’s opponent, Frank Guinta, is stuck in the past and does not believe women can make their own personal decisions. He voted to allow insurance companies to charge more for women, than men, and co-sponsored a bill that would allow employers to deny coverage of contraception and refuse mammograms and other preventive healthcare for women.

Frank Guinta voted to slash Medicare benefits in order to pay for tax cuts for the millionaires who fund his campaign. He voted to reduce benefits by six thousand dollars a year, significantly increasing out of pocket expenses and ending the guarantee of Medicare – leaving seniors on their own with the insurance companies.

Frank Guinta has taken thousands of dollars in campaign money from insurance companies, drug companies, and related interests. He voted against letting Medicare negotiate lower drug prices for millions of Americans forcing seniors to pay more, and voted to let insurance companies deny coverage for children with pre-existing illnesses.