Political Crisis? Get the Ads Out! Now!

We’ve done a few posts on Canadian ads over the last few months and with the election only being about 7 weeks old, we had a lot of different ads to choose from.

For the last week, the political landscape in Canada has been on fire. Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented his budget package to deal with the recession and after lacking the details and positions hoped by for the opposition, they have formed a coalition and hope to shift the balance of power in the House of Parliament.

This coalition between the opposition parties (the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Quebecois) has been met with severe disdain among many Canadians. For others, it’s a chance to finally get rid of a hyper-partisan PM and ensure that we have a stable government that can properly deal with the economic situation.

All in all, on Monday there is the potential that Canada will have a new PM, reformatted government and a lot of citizens who are concerned about the leadership change, current economic stimulus package and the future of our nation –

How does this relate to advertising?

Well first off, the Conservatives are – by far – the leading party in Canada when it comes to finances. They have more money, more resources and more cash to spend on advertising than all 3 opposition parties combined. And in times of severe crisis like this, they are spending it. Fast.

They recently launched a radio spot and tonight they launched a new TV spot that we’ve posted below:

Their message is simple. Stephan Dion (leader of the Liberals) is trying to steal an election result that gave the Conservatives power and the Liberals it’s worst defeat since Confederation. The message paints the opposition parties in a way that shows them as power hungry, opponents to democracy and political tacticians who only care about gaining power from Canadians. Layer on the close link to the Quebec Separatist party and you’ve got a pretty good 30 seconds of hate.

The radio spot follows the same them and I’m sure in the next day or so a similar TV spot will air but will feature the NDP leader Jack Layton at the end with a hyper-socialist message.

Is this advertising effective?

For starters, what is the objective? To raise awareness awareness about the coalition and the potential removal of the Conservatives (without a national election).


Key message takeaway? “I hate the opposition parties. I hate Dion. What can I do to help the conservatives stop this thing?


The conservatives have been experts at running negative advertising. They love it and they’ve based a lot of their campaign tactics on the Rove-Bush tactics of 2000/2004. That being said, I think negative advertising in this case misses the mark.

The reason they are here is because of leadership. And the best way they can sway Canadian favor is to show that their leader is the strongest. Record a message with Harper appealing to Canadians for more time (it’s only been 7 weeks). Give him a stage to spread his message and get the word out. Show Canada that he is a diplomat and that he can lead our country out of the economic situation. Tell Canada that this isn’t the time to switch political leadership. That it’s time to lead.

But instead, he’s done what he’s always done – gone negative. Gone partisan. Gone mean.

These ads make a point. They have a good message but they go at it the wrong way. Don’t scare me. Tell my why – like a normal person – you are the one I should trust, believe in and stand up for.

Who knows what happens on Monday. But whatever the case, there will be more ads and they will be negative. What do you think? Does this sway you or turn you off?

Special thanks to Budman for the video link!

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