Lucas Baiano, the video maker who drew attention for transforming Tim Pawlenty into a kind of action hero in cinematic video spots, is back at work, this time in the midst of a bitter state political scandal.
His latest video, a mock-trailer for the North Carolina Republican Party, brings together the latest jobs figures and a political scandal, juxtaposing them with the state party's convention a month ago. The intent is both retrospective and to highlight the party's bettering chances in November.
Baiano, 23, who also worked for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, told BuzzFeed that he sees himself more as a craftsman than as a political animal. Indeed, he's known in sometimes quick-and-dirty political video circles for his obsessive editing, cutting and recutting ads, and dubbing in layer after layer of audio to add realism.
"A good ad or feature is defined by how effective it is," he said in an email. "I feel that the most vital ingredient is emotion — people will not always remember what they heard, or what they saw, but what they will always remember how they felt."
Before working for Republican candidates, Baiano worked for Hillary Clinton, asking former President Bill Clinton out of the blue if he could cut an ad for his wife's campaign. He turned that experience into an independent film, complete with the quick cuts and urgent music that defines his political work.
Baiano then joined John McCain's presidential campaign.
"I realized that my values and core beliefs were much more aligned with the GOP," he said.
His breakthrough video of the 2012 cycle — "Courage To Stand" for Tim Pawlenty — took viewers on an such an emotional ride that it instantly drew comparisons to the Transformers film director Michael Bay's work. It certainly built excitement, but it was far larger than the vanilla candidate.
Baiano's work for Pawlenty and then Rick Perry (he got to know both while at the Republican Governors Association) was recognized with a clean sweep of the The American Association of Political Consultants "Pollies" for online advertising in the Republican presidential primary.
"Lucas's work is unique because it always connects with viewers on an emotional level," said Rob Lockwood, the NC GOP communications director, quoting legendary ad man David Ogilvy on the importance of making an emotional connection with viewers. “When Aeschines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march against Philip." The thing about Lucas's videos: they make people march."