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Flyers fight virus with viral mousetrap video

Flyers fight virus with viral mousetrap video

Shayleigh Frank ’21 May 13, 2020

Three Flyers are among the crew of creatives who contributed to what has become one of the most viral videos on the use of social distancing to stem the novel coronavirus pandemic — one that features mousetraps and ping pong balls.

Andy Nick sets up the mousetraps and ping pong balls.

“You could call me the director of the live shoot, or you could call me the ‘mousetrap setter,’” said Andy Nick ’02, who graduated with a degree in visual communication design, during a virtual interview. “There were only three to four of us on-set during those two days, and a major objective was to maintain social distancing during production.”

Nick works in Dayton for Real Art, which created the video “Space Makes Us Safer.” In the video, ping-pong balls activate mousetraps. When the traps are close together, a single ball causes a chain reaction. When the traps are spaced apart, a ping pong hops through without setting off a single one.

The 30-second spot for the Ohio Department of Health demonstrates the benefits of social distancing, of keeping 6 or more feet apart to help prevent spread of the infection that causes COVID-19.

The video has reached more than 22 million views on Twitter, been shared by author J.K. Rowling and received coverage from dozens of news outlets across the globe.

“Nothing we’ve ever done has taken off quite like this,” Nick said. “The chain reaction of people spreading the video on social media, the articles, the news coverage, I mean, it was almost like the mousetraps in the video.”

Other Flyers on the project were visual communications design majors Chris Wire ’93, Real Art owner, and Alison Kelly Westfall ’02.

“Chris Wire was the one who pitched the mousetrap and ping pong ball concept, and it was my job to make it real,” Nick said. “Alison Westfall collected mousetraps the old-fashioned way — she bought every mousetrap from every store within 30 miles of Dayton over two days.”

2005_mousetrap_img2.jpgThe concept came to life with 500 mousetraps and five team members. But the hidden story of the video is about how Flyers contributed to the stemming of the pandemic.

“It’s about a handful of Flyers during one of the most uncertain times in our life creating something that means something to people around the world — from right here in Dayton,” Nick said.

With Ohio as an early leader in flattening the infection rate curve, Nick said its informative video will contribute to efforts beyond state lines.

“To think we were part of that success — that we might have helped keep people healthy, or even saved lives — it’s one of those milestone moments in my career,” Nick said.

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