From the loins of The Lonely Island’s one-hit-wonder, “Dick in a Box,” spawned Philadelphia native Leah Kauffman’s own “Box in a Box” parody spinoff, and thereby an offspring of viral music videos that have captured millions of Americans’ attentions since 2006.
Kauffman has amassed more than 26 million views on YouTube for her satirical “Crush on Obama” video, which she describes as a “Mariah Carey-esque ballad.”
Now, Kauffman is back with yet another viral pop video, this time in support of Bernie Sanders, and it, too, was made right here in Philadelphia.
A 2008 graduate of Temple University and a journalism-degree holder, Kauffman has spent many years in journalism, having spent time time at Philly.com and Phillyvoice.com. She's now the director of content strategy for 50onRed, an ad agency in West Philly.
Kauffman’s “Bernie Bae” music video depicts about a dozen local millennials donning “Bern it Down” and “Bernie Bae” T-shirts and apparel while dancing to an original, catchy pop tune.
“We backed Obama from the start. We wanted change and hope, but then it fell apart. I was feeling hopeless and so cynical. Now you’ve got me focused. Bernie, you’re a miracle,” the song begins.
“Was gonna vote Hillary – she’s not feeling real to me. Won’t vote O’Malley. Honestly, who is he?”
In 2007, Kauffman gained notoriety for her “I Got A Crush…on Obama” Internet video, featuring Pennsylvania model and actress Amber Lee Ettinger. In the video, produced by BarelyPolitical.com, Ettinger is seen seductively lip-synching of her desire for President Obama, who’s pictured shirtless and running on a beach.
“I was already an Obama supporter, and I created this character who was physically and intellectually attracted to Barack Obama,” said Kauffman. “I then put it against this Mariah Carey-esque ballad.”
In 2012, Kauffman admitted she did still have a crush on Obama, and recorded recap of everything that had transpired politically over the last four years of his presidency. She called the video, “Still Got a Crush on Obama.”
“There had to be a new candidate to support. That’s how Bernie Bae came to fruition,” she said.
“I was really attracted to Bernie’s guts. He really says what he means and also I was fascinated by the fact that all of his contributions to his campaign have been from small individual supporters. I found that unusual, and the fact most of my peers are also Bernie supports, really inspired me to do the video.”
Kauffman said her current work at 50onRed advertising agency allows her a lot more freedom in her off time.
“In the past, I was employed in the newspapers, and they didn’t like the way I was expressing myself,” she said.
“News organizations can’t have opinions, when, naturally, they [do]. This experience was much more enjoyable and freeing for me.”
Kauffman said all the participants in the video were volunteers and a local street art designer by the name of Brooks Bell created the mural the dancers are jiving in front of at 4th and Bainbridge streets. Kauffman said she sees no monetary returns from her videos.
“All that was given to the video shoot was because of genuine support of Bernie Sanders,” she said.
“This video really is Philadelphia for Bernie, whereas the other ones were concepts of characters. This was more of a pep rally.”