Union County-Birthed Activate Media Celebrates Unprecedented Year One Success

Image credit: Neil Monohan. From left to right in Atlantic City: Cranford NJ Democratic Municipal Chair John Salerno, Springfield NJ Democratic Vice Chair Harris Laufer, Activate Media CEO Dave Pilmenstein

Image credit: Neil Monohan. From left to right in Atlantic City: Cranford NJ Democratic Municipal Chair John Salerno, Springfield NJ Democratic Vice Chair Harris Laufer, Activate Media CEO Dave Pilmenstein

(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) – Activate Media celebrated its first year in business this month, sponsoring a multi-county Democratic event at last week’s League of Municipalities conference. The event featured Newark Mayor Ras Baraka as well as five county Democratic chairs, including Peg Schaffer (Somerset County Democratic Chair), Chip Robinson (Morris County Democratic Chair), Arlene Quiñones Perez (Hunterdon County Democratic Chair), Tom Palmieri (Warren County Democratic Chair) and Leslie Huhn (Sussex County Democratic Chair). 

Activate Media Founder & President Dave Pilmenstein has reason to celebrate Activate’s unprecedented success in its first year across New Jersey and New York. Pilmenstein (Springfield, NJ) led digital outreach for Tom Malinowski’s congressional success in the 7th Congressional district, helping to turn these online advantages into thousands of volunteers and new voters. Activate, however, had plenty of highlights of its own, including:

·      flipping 40-year Republican hotbed Berkeley Heights for Mayor-elect Angie Devanney and bringing a 3-0 council sweep with it,

·      fueling the insurgent progressive congressional campaign of Suraj Patel to give 25-year incumbent Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D, NY-14) the challenge of her life, and

·      capturing the earth-shattering energy of elected and activist alike at the the Unity March for Puerto Rico

Coming together with other movers and shakers to put on a spectacular event was the perfect opportunity for a Year One thank-you,” said Pilmenstein. “As a new company, we know it's daunting to build something from the ground up – and for our team, there are no better examples of success than the state’s Democratic leaders who spent the year hustling, party-building, and delivering key wins in what was ultimately a confident blue wave here in New Jersey. Now we’re charged with extending that into 2019.

You can’t just hire any video team off the street,” said George Devanney, former Union County Manager and current Berkeley Heights Municipal Chair. “You need a team of operatives that know the landscape and whose every word is deliberate. Not only does Activate’s product look like it comes from an elite veteran firm, but Dave and his team helped to make the strategic decisions when we needed them most and then integrated them into video seamlessly. 2018 was something we’re really proud of.

ACTIVATE MEDIA is a communications agency for progress. It specializes in visceral, fluff-free video production, digital buys, email marketing, and strategic communications, and can be found at https://activate.media/.


"We have the people, they have the money"

Last night's primaries in New York showed us just how much people are craving young, progressive energy, even in blue states.

In NY-14, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated 19-year incumbent and Congressional powerhouse Rep. Joe Crowley. We didn’t make the ad below, but from our work in the Bronx we knew that it would be perfect for AOC’s electorate. It’s incredible to see genuine progressives win, even when they’re not your clients.

In NY-12, Suraj Patel, a young millennial progressive, got 41 percent of the vote against 25-year incumbent Carolyn Maloney – a strong showing for someone who started with no name recognition in the bluest district in the country. Activate Media was proud to produce campaign media for Suraj's campaign and continues to tell the stories of exciting candidates.

Stories that Inspire Us, Vol. 1: Amy McGrath for Congress (KY-6)

Once in awhile, we find content that's so cool we want to feature it on our website, even though we didn't make it. Consider this the first; although it's from over the summer, we're still following Amy's race and pulling for her.


Congressional campaign announcement video for retired Marine Lt. Colonel Amy McGrath (D) in Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District. For more on Amy and the campaign, visit her website at http://www.AmyMcGrathforCongress.com

Dissecting a Campaign Ad: Justin Sanchez for New York City Council

Campaign ads often try to make what is seem like something that is not – and media in general often tries to be deceptive by cultivating an uninformed consumer. When we're writing a script for someone, however, we try to capture the central ethos of both the race and the candidate by writing a very raw, connected narrative.

So what set Justin apart? What made his story worth telling?

New York City Council District 14 (Fordham, Kingsbridge, Morris Heights, University Heights) contains some of the poorest citizens in our country. In this district, the median family of 4 lives off of less than $35,000 per year, 1/3 of that goes to rent, and the cost of living is driven up further by more expensive Metrocards, lack of fresh food options in the vicinity, and not a single conventional gym in which to stay healthy.

But that's not the feeling you get when you walk around. So that information was omitted.

When we were onsite at Jerome Avenue in the West Bronx, way up past Yankee Stadium and deep into an impoverished neighborhood, we noticed that the residents of District 14 are resilient. They are optimistic, they make some of the best food in the City, and life seems to go on despite abject poverty.

These people are not wallowing in their economic status. They work hard to survive, and that's it.

Once the script was written, our footage highlighted not only the animated energy of D14 residents, but also the candidate's history of living and fighting for the Bronx. After a bunch of editing-down time wise (clearly, I'm the verbose one), we had a finished product that we were proud of, one that just slightly hinted at economic disadvantage but spoke mostly to the resilient group of people living in-district and the opportunities that would make their lives even better.