From outside, it is a historic 1800s tavern, once used as a stagecoach stop.
Inside through, The Strategy Group houses some of the most high-tech weapons used political battles – non-linear video editing systems, a media composer, an audio suite.
All of the weapons are designed to get conservative candidates elected.
Rex Elass founded The Strategy Group in 1994. The company writes, produces and creates the political commercials that have been running on televisions across the country for months.
“While we focus on the art and the political message, ultimately, it’s about the people we serve,” Elass said.
The “people” he refers to are the candidates in Ohio and around the country.
The Strategy Group can produce a TV ad in the same time it takes for the presidential candidates to debate.
While many of the ads are positive, others have a negative twist.
“When someone attacks you, it’s certainly my instinct to defend their honor and their reputation and not allow people to slander you,” Elass said.
One of the Strategy Group’s clients made big news this summer after a comment about women and rape.
U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican, was quoted saying “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.”
There were immediate calls, from both Democrats and Republicans, for Akin, a Senate hopeful, to drop out of the race.
Elass said that he convinced the congressman to continue on.
“We stand with him. There were people who pressured us to quit. Todd is someone we’ve served for 14 years,” Elass said.
The result of Akin’s comments was a new advertisement produced by the Strategy Group.
“Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that, I apologize,” Akin said in a response advertisement.
Akin and his opponent, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, are now in a virtual tie in the polls.
Throughout the years, political ads have changed.
In 1956, a carton highlighted the Eisenhower campaign. In the 1960s, a jingle helped John F. Kennedy.
But negative ads certainly are not new.
“Often times, when people think of political ads, they think of the contrast things that they see, but I thinkt he best ad tells the biographical story,” Elass said.
Elass said that negative ads to work, though, by drawing attention to the candidates and flooding the airwaves.
No one expects there to be fewer negative ads in years to come.
As Tuesday’s election comes, the Strategy Group looks ahead to 2014. Gov. John Kasich, expected to seek reelection, is just one of their clients.
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