While some of us spent our free time baking sourdough bread in quarantine or taking nightly walks around town, brothers Ben, Brett, and Jordan Meiselas decided to take up a hobby of a little different: biting viral video ads meant to help the Democrats, Donald defeat Trump in November. Together they formed MeidasTouch, an independent political action group.
Each of the three brothers brought a skill to the table. Elder brother Ben is a lawyer who represents high profile clients like Colin Kaepernick; Middle brother Brett is an Emmy award-winning video editor from Los Angeles. and Jordan, the youngest, works in marketing for big brands. MeidasTouch found an audience almost immediately, posting anti-Trump videos that generated millions of views online.
As the election season rises to a fever, MeidasTouch is entering a new phase, placing advertisements in front of viewers in swing states in hopes of encouraging voters to oppose the president. We met Brett Meiselas from MeidasTouch to find out more.
How did the three of you from your individual career come together to create MeidasTouch? And how did it work with your brothers?
MeidasTouch was shaped in the most organic way possible. The three of us watched the impending coronavirus crisis as cases exploded around the world and watched in horror as Trump downplayed the severity of the pandemic on national television day after day. From saying the Americans said the pandemic "would miraculously go away" to asking people to inject bleach and ultraviolet light, we felt helpless. Instead of continuing to call and text us complaining about the state of the country, we decided to take action.
The pandemic and Trump's malicious and incompetent handling of the pandemic made us realize that this choice would literally mean the difference between life and death for many Americans. We were called to action through this dark moment in American history, and we hope to do our little part in helping our country change so urgently.
We always wanted to work together in some way, but never knew what it would look like in practice. When we thought about our background and the situation, we knew that the moment was right. MeidasTouch brought together Ben's business acumen, technical and creative skills, and Jordy's marketing brilliance to create an unstoppable force in progressive politics. Working together as brothers has been one of the most unexpectedly rewarding things we've done in our lives.
It seems like many Americans are taking inspiration to take political action during these strange times. Did you watch that
People are waking up all over the country. Politicians often use the line: "This is the most important choice of our life." This time it is actually true. If Trump wins another term, America as we know it may no longer exist. Because of Trump's malicious, weak, and incompetent "leadership", millions of Americans are sick and unemployed. There is chaos in our streets. Our military has been disregarded like never before. And in the context of this chaos and suffering, Trump's plan is to make things worse. He's trying to take away healthcare and social security in the middle of a pandemic, he refuses to condemn right-wing violence and extremism, and he's just trying to ignite the flames of hatred and divide us. Trump represents one of the greatest crises in American history, so it is not surprising that people are more committed than ever to saving our country.
What strategy have you followed with MeidasTouch so far?
With MeidasTouch we want to produce the most effective and most watched political videos. Donald Trump poses an existential threat to America as we know it. From being too weak and incompetent to devise an effective strategy to deal with the pandemic, to sinking our economy into a near-depression, to a full-scale assault on the norms, values and freedoms we love as Americans, this is it indispensable We will fire Donald Trump on November 3rd and elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States.
We are working to achieve this goal with three strategies:
Firstly, it is important that we motivate the democratic base to be excited, committed and actively involved in the democratic process. In addition to motivating this group to vote, we want to inspire them to use their talents to bring about real change in our country.
Second, we believe that there is a large group of independent and disaffected Republicans who feel that the party has left them. From our first viral hit of our Are You Better Off video, which featured Ronald Reagan's famous debate line, Are You Better Off Than Four Years Ago? Used until a recent post titled "#ImVotingForJoe" (the trending number) we want to show voters that a vote for Joe Biden is not a vote for the Democratic Party, but a vote for America.
Third, our content works to counter Trump campaign narratives in near real time. In 2016, Trump was effective at tagging his opponents and recording those names. In this election cycle, Trump is struggling to find a coherent message. Examples of videos that fall under this category are "#CreepyTrump", "#TrumpTerrorism", and "#QuidProTrump".
What can you tell us about your latest campaign broadcasting television commercials in battlefield states?
Our latest campaign targets three major swing states: Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Georgia.
In Pennsylvania, we're planning to run an ad saying "Trump Has No Health Plan." During the campaign, Trump promised to present his constituents with a new health plan on his first day in office. Then, as President, he promised them that it would keep coming. In his infamous July interview with Chris Wallace, Trump promised that a health plan would come within two weeks. Now, almost two months later, Trump's health plan no longer exists. The truth? Trump doesn't have a health plan. Never has. Never will. His only plan is to take health care away from those who need it most. As we speak, the Trump administration is advocating removing protection for Americans with pre-existing conditions in the Supreme Court, and has consistently advocated devaluing important social programs like social security and medical care.
In Iowa, we're planning an ad for Senator Joni Ernst, who failed Iowans on all counts. Senator Ernst's blind loyalty to Trump has led Iowa into disaster. As if supporting trade deals that harm Iowa's farmers and a nearly non-existent COVID-19 policy that made Iowa the epicenter of the nation's coronavirus wasn't enough, Senator Ernst took her submissiveness to radical law to another level and apparently advocated a QAnon theory that the number of cases and deaths from coronavirus is a hoax. Iowans can't afford to have a policy on making coronavirus deniers.
In Georgia, we're planning to run an ad called "#DraftDodgerDon," highlighting Trump's derogatory comments over the years about our military and veterans. Georgia has one of the highest numbers of active military personnel in the country. Georgians deserve a president who respects our military and our veterans, not one who considers them "losers" and "fools".
Most of your videos are aimed at criticizing Trump, but you also have some positive ads in support of Biden-Harris. In your opinion, what is more popular with the audience?
In our eyes, it's important to create a mix of ads that both highlight Trump's widespread corruption and show why Americans should vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Traditionally, our anti-Trump content hits the hardest. There is so much corruption and chaos every day that it is difficult to keep track of the news cycle. Our videos help highlight the most important stories and present them to a mass audience. In the past few weeks the buzz for Biden-Harris has skyrocketed, and our Biden-Harris content has seen a huge surge in engagement. Notable recent examples include "#ImVotingForJoe" and "#WeWantJoe," two videos that garnered millions of views and number one trend.
Where do you see the project after the election? Will you keep going
We are very focused on our goal of electing Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. Until the election there is nothing more important for us than achieving this. After the election, we can start looking at the next steps. Still, we hope that MeidasTouch will be an advanced powerhouse in the years to come. We're just getting started.
RELATED: The GOP Hopes Bashing California Will Distract From National Trump Fatigue
Stay up to date on LA cuisine and culture. Sign up for our newsletter today.