MANDEVILLE, La. -- In what looks like any other strip mall, between a salon and a Chinese buffet, sits a political and corporate advertising business branded with three letters, INN.
Last Tuesday, the brand vision of Innovative Advertising, led by Jay Connaughton, was credited for playing a major part in pushing Donald Trump to the White House.
"It's akin to winning the Super Bowl," he said, "We worked really long and really hard and, while I've been a part of other presidential campaigns, this was one where I was actually one of the hands on the steering wheel."
Connaughton's big dream of being somebody in the political world started in his teens, taking a 20-something to victory for a Mandeville City Council seat. Later, he would be part of starting Pat Brister's climb up the local leader ladder.
"We're so excited for him because he is nationally known now, obviously, and to be here in St. Tammany, we just have so many talented people," she said.
Eventually, Innovative's campaign-messaging success spread across nine states and connected him with Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager. Innovative Advertising went on to create 30 TV. spots and multiple media strategies for Trump's campaign, all with Louisiana workers, sending back millions of income dollars to small communities like Mandeville.
The win sent him home with souvenirs of his biggest dream having come true.
Connaughton says he hopes his success sends a message that not only can you do whatever it is that you want to, but you don't have to let go of your Louisiana roots to make it happen.
"I think those of us from Louisiana have a different perspective on the world. We're so much more social. We're really good at reading people. Everything we do, business life, professional life, we're constantly interacting with people, way more than you see in other communities. And our ability to read and understand people makes us uniquely adept and talented at making an impact in the world around us," he said, "But I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't gotten involved at a very young age, felt I could make a difference, and most importantly, worked hard and worked smart every single day."
As for what's next, Connaughton says he knows Innovative will have a role in the Trump administration, but what kind of role remains to be determined. However, the business will remain based in Mandeville.