The objective? Simple. Make one ad to propel a 25-year-old Afro-Cuban gun violence prevention organizer and Uber driver with zero name ID to an unlikely double-digit win against not one, but two, well-known former members of Congress and a popular State Senator from a family with deep roots in Central Florida. So yeah, simple.
Spending the vast majority of our campaign budget on a robust digital and television buy to burn in one 30-second ad meant, well, it needed to be a damn good ad. It needed to highlight Maxwell’s experience at Fight for Our Lives and ACLU. It needed to show him as a fresh new progressive voice, unafraid to speak truth to power and fight through hurdles to get things accomplished. It needed to be memorable and cut through. It needed to show Democrats that he was the candidate who would fight for their values.
Four months before our ad, Maxwell interrupted a private event for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to challenge his inaction on gun safety legislation, particularly after the Uvalde mass shooting in Texas. Two cell phone videos were taken, one of Maxwell, and one that Maxwell shot of DeSantis. In particular, the Governor’s response to Maxwell that, “No one wants to hear from you,” was particularly resonant to young voters and people of color as the video went viral. We decided to make that cell phone video and quote from the Governor the basis of our one ad of the campaign.
Before the ad aired, we were at 5% and 4th place in primary polling. On election day, we won with a convincing double-digit win and 34% of the vote, eventually making Maxwell Alejandro Frost the first Gen-Z member of Congress. And since then, he’s been on The View, Good Morning America, MSNBC, the cover of Teen Vogue, photographed for Vogue magazine by Annie Leibowitz and even got slimed on Nickelodeon. The ad, “Hear From,” helped propel Maxwell to a seat in Congress and national stardom.