Many of the top Republican campaigns this cycle are using Hollywood-based consultant Fred Davis to produce their TV ads. The image-maker has been responsible for some of the most memorable spots of the cycle.
He created "demon sheep" for California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, the "danged fence" ad for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the "one tough nerd" spots run by Rick Snyder during the Michigan GOP gubernatorial primary.
Davis allowed The Washington Post to shadow him for three days for a profile. Here's one of the best anecdotes that came out of the piece.
One night, he took a reporter to the cedar-hued lounge for cocktails. During the 2004 presidential campaign, Davis and strategist Mark McKinnon met here regularly to plot Bush's ad campaign.
The club has 300 members, among them many of Hollywood's leading men. Davis steps into the humidor room, where he and other members store their cigars in personal wooden lockers. Never mind that he's not much of a smoker and says that he hasn't opened his box in months. Davis is here to gaze at the gold-plated name cards: Arnold Schwarzenegger ... Sylvester Stallone ... Hulk Hogan ... Mel Gibson ... David Geffen ...
Fred N. Davis III.
He returns to a retro velvet couch to meet his friend, the actor Robert Davi, one of Hollywood's lonely dyed-in-the-wool conservatives. Davi, who played the villain in the James Bond film "License to Kill," has a distinctive baritone. And in an exclusive deal, he provides the voice-overs for many of Davis's ads. He narrated every video at the 2008 Republican convention.
"We never told who Robert Davi was," Davis says. "If you write that in your story, you'll be the first. He's the voice of Rick Snyder, McCain — all the McCain stuff — Carly. He was the voice of 'Demon Sheep.' "
Davi, smoking a Cuban torpedo, turns to his friend and dubs him "the Wizard of Oz of political campaigns."
"Here you have the Yellow Brick Road," Davi says. "You're creating an illusion. You're creating a world in Dorothy's head. The iconic use of the straw man and the lion. In the political arena, you're creating an illusion."