Republican action movies take off on YouTube

Lucas Baiano's style has become a go-to in political advertising online.

Mar 3, 2020, 3:18 am*


Justin Franz 

Justin Franz

It’s amazing what you can do with fancy lens effects and quick cuts. And that has never been more clear than with the Web ads being produced by Republican candidates this year, which at times come off like trailers for the summer’s hottest new action movie.

Just like Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino’s style can be seen in many different movies, Lucas Baiano’s style is being emulated in new political Web commercials. Baiano is a 24-year-old Canadian who first made an ad for Hillary Clinton in 2008. In 2012, he decided to work with Tim Pawlenty and Rick Perry. The epic, action-movie-like style has now been reproduced by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, most recently in that campaign’s video introducing “America’s Comeback Team.”

It works: That video is now one of the the Romney campaign’s most popular offerings on YouTube.

But there may be no better example of how powerful the “Baiano style” is than a Web commercial produced by Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown.

Brown’s ad “Let America Be America Again” has gained more than 1 million views in the last month. That’s a staggering amount for a campaign of that level, even if it is one of the most watched Senate races in the country. To see how much of an outlier the blockbuster commercial is, one just has to look at Brown’s second most popular YouTube video. “Hey, Dad,” a campaign commercial from 2012, has just 185,000 views. It’s the same on the Democratic side too. Elizabeth Warren’s most popular upload, a November 2011 video that introduces her to the voters, has 157,000 hits.

So far it appears the blockbuster-like ads mostly live online. That’s because one of their key traits is a lot of dramatic build up, which can’t really happen in just 30 seconds, the average television commercial length.

But it doesn’t work all the time. Although Pawlenty actually hired Baiano in 2011, his commercials never took off like the other ones; his most popular spot was actually to promote his book (a book tour has never looked more exciting). “Courage to Stand” only garnered 303,363 views, which could show just how uninteresting people found the former Minnesota governor.

One thing is for certain: We’ll be seeing a lot more of this style in the future.

Image via YouTube

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*First Published: Aug 24, 2012, 8:24 am