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From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards

Election 2016: Too Many Cooks

Entered in News


In Spring 2015, dozens of politicians from both parties were considering a bid for the presidency. We wanted to show a broad audience how sprawling the race for the White House was, and portray the massive amount of time, people and resources that go into it. Instead of tackling the story with a traditional video package, essay or listicle, CNN Politics parodied the Adult Swim viral video, "Too Many Cooks," which portrays a sitcom with a seemingly endless number of characters.

Staying true to the original, the video even took a dark turn - focusing on all the issues presidents have to face - but ends back on a happy note with a giant grid of all the 'cooks.'

The intended goal was to provide viewers who might not follow politics closely to see just how many people were involved with running for president and showcase the absurdity of the process.

Strategy and Execution

Our video team pulled dozens of clips from campaign ads, B-roll, interviews and footage shot by CNN on the campaign trail to compile the videos that made this massive project possible. We divided the characters into sections—presidential candidates, campaign operatives, donors, surrogates and challenges that would face the next president—and timed with the "Too Many Cooks" music to tell the story of the presidential race.

Meanwhile, CNN's legal team sought and gained permission from the Adult Swim network to re-appropriate the music from the original "Too Many Cooks" video.

In the end, we produced a unique, viral video that offered both a humorous and informative look at the presidential race.


Because of the wide press exposure and virality of the video, many people outside of CNN's normal reach watched this video. It made heads turn as it was something unexpected, but people were overall very impressed that CNN delved into this territory.

Multiple news outlets wrote stories about the video, including publications that don't follow politics. The video also received a massive response on social media, where it was shared thousands of times.

Time magazine wrote, "If you loved Too Many Cooks, you'll love CNN's version of the viral internet sensation." The Huffington Post called it, "bizarrely hilarious" and Vox wrote that the video was "better than it has any right to be."

The video showed CNN's ability to cover traditional breaking news, but also has the flexibility to explore new ways of storytelling.


Video for Election 2016: Too Many Cooks

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