After Roger Chiocchi graduated from Verona High School with the Class of 1972, he got a degree in marketing from Wharton and went to work on Madison Avenue, promoting the brands of some of the biggest companies in America. Later he watched as many of those companies were undone by the financiers who ostensibly had come in to save them. Still later, he watched Baby Boomer wealth come undone at the hand of Wall Street.
And then, one night this past May, he was catching up on news about the financier who is the Republican presidential hopeful and he found himself humming a Carly Simon song that rhymed with the name of that financier’s former company. It wasn’t long before Chiocchi had a video on YouTube about Mitt Romney entitled “You’re So Bain”.
“I am all for capitalism with a conscience,” says Chiocchi. “Wall Street has a legitimate role to fund new business. It’s role is not to slice and dice businesses that could exist on their own. I think that’s a problem.”
The video got about 15,000 hits on YouTube when it was first posted, and then it sort of lingered. But when it passed 20,000 views, Chiocchi, who now runs an agency in Connecticut, put a note about it on all the social media sites he uses. Which might not have done anything, except that it happened to coincide with a spate of news stories about when exactly Romney left Bain Capital. Romney had said he resigned from the firm in February 1999, but documents filed with Massachusetts, where Romney was governor, indicate that he still owned 100% of Bain Capital in 2002. That puts him at the firm when it was deeply involved in leveraged buyouts that left many companies bankrupt and many workers without jobs.
“In a typical LBO you take a company that’s not a sexy company, you fire people and you declare dividends for yourself,” says Chiocchi. “The people in the community are damaged and the workers are damaged. Just because you can do an LBO doesn’t mean that you should.”
No, that is not Carly Simon singing in the clip below. After Chiocchi roughed out the lyrics, he sang them over the phone to a former college roommate who thought he might be on to something. He then had his daughter record what the ad industry calls a scratch track, a temporary clip used while creating the video portion of the ad. He then advertised for a Carly Simon soundalike on Craigslist, who recorded the final version. “When I heard her voice it inspired me to finish it,” Chiocchi says. (The Film Club members at VHS and the Class of 2012 grads heading to film school might be interested to know Chiocchi used a MacBook Air and Adobe Premier Elements to put the video together.)
Since the Bain departure controversy erupted, YouTube views of “You’re So Bain” have skyrocketed, topping 60,000 as of this morning. Chiocchi thinks it could do 100,000 views by the election, which is also about when the Class of 1972 is holding its 40th reunion.