I-Team: Block shoots campaign ad in East Providence
The lights shine brightly. Technicians scramble in place. A local make-up artist dabs the candidate's brow.
The Kay Studios production set in East Providence is buzzing as the backdrop for Republican candidate for governor Ken Block's latest television ad.
The scheduled shoot was put together by Block's political consulting firm, Jamestown Associates, from New Jersey, who then farms out the work locally.
"It probably would be a lot cheaper in New Jersey, but we've made a decision to do all of our ads, both the first two and this one here in Barrington, Bristol and East Providence. The one consultant flies in and we hire. As you see, the people behind us are all local people. They do the production. They do the work and we do our ads here," said campaign manager Jeff Britt.
Coventry make-up artist Colleen Collins, of Tranquil Touch, got a gig she otherwise wouldn't have.
"It all helps. I'm a small business, one person, it all makes a difference," said Collins.
Friday's commercial comes on the heels of criticism facing Block's opponent Allan Fung, who aired a TV spot touting Rhode Island is open for business, while shooting the ad in a diner in Ohio. He's using the Ohio ad firm, The Strategy Group.
Campaign finance records show employees of that company donated nearly $7,000 to Fung's campaign. When asked this week if he would have done anything differently, Fung did want to talk about the production of the ad.
"The message is resonating with the people of Rhode Island and I'm going to stick by that message because that's who I am," said Fung.
The ad calls him a conservative reformer and highlights Fung's hardworking immigrant background and his many accomplishments as Cranston's mayor.
Advertising is big money in politics. The entire ad issue has sparked interest across the board.
NBC 10 asked the major gubernatorial candidates which advertising firms they are using and are they shooting out of state?
Angel Taveras' campaign told NBC 10 that is uses the Washington and New York firm of SKD Knickerbocker and that it shoots all of its ads in Rhode Island.
Clay Pell's campaign said it uses the Washington firm of Devine Mulvey Longabough, run by Rhode Island native Tad Devine. Pell's ads are also shot in state.
Gina Raimondo consults with Mark Putnam, from Putnam Partners, also based in Washington. Her campaign confirms her ads are shot in Rhode Island.