Thursday, April 05, 2007


The new Liberal radio ads are the perfect counter to the Conservative attacks ads. The ads ask the basic question, which I have argued, if this government is such a juggernaut of ideas and accomplishments, then why do they need to resort to the negative?:
"If Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party attack Stéphane Dion, maybe it's because they're afraid of something. Afraid of his ideas, maybe? Afraid of his green plan? Afraid . . . of losing power?" a female voice says in one of the ads.

In another ad, a male voice depicts Mr. Harper as being out of touch with the times.

"In 2007, do we prefer a politician like Stephen Harper who spends his time attacking his adversary, or someone who is passionate like Stéphane Dion, who is concerned with the challenges of the 21st century? Which one brings us back in time?" the ad says.

The final Liberal ad criticizes the Conservatives for their previous attack ads, stating that they were created to hide a poor record.

"If Stephen Harper was convinced that his accomplishments to date are positive, would he spend all his money on attack ads against Stéphane Dion?" a male voice asks.

Great questions. You attack the government indirectly by pointing to their preference for negativity. You differentiate between the high road and the Harper gutter, in a simple way, by highlighting the tactics. These type of ads are the "hidden" attack ad, because they merely respond to the initial slight, make unflattering points, and yet they are justified- everyone has the right to defend themselves, don't they? The beauty of this approach, you frame Harper without the appearance of rolling in the mutual mud. Bingo.


Karen said...

I think they're good. I don't think we could have gone on any longer allowing the con's to define Dion through lies.

They are not overly defensive, they ask reasonable questions and appeal to the intellect, (however superficially), rather than just bashing.

I don't want to see too much money go this pre-election stuff, but we can't just sit there and say nothing.

Steve V said...

"I don't want to see too much money go this pre-election stuff, but we can't just sit there and say nothing."

Knb, I think that's why radio ads are a good compromise. You show you can fight back, without the big expenditure.

The money angle might play to our advantage in one way. With the Tories flaunting their cash, it makes the Liberals look like the underdog, up against the showy Goliath. That fact might look attractive.

Karen said...

You're also hitting a different, perhaps broader, audience, which I see as a good thing. You're speaking to Mom's and others at home, people who listen to radio at work, (stores, etc.) and commuters.

Have you read the Long Tail, Steve? I saw the author at one of the Canada 2020 series, (on CPAC). Fascinating, btw. I asked my guy to pick it up today and I'm hoping to get into it this weekend. It's a marketing book, that speaks to the "unmarketed", in a sense.

Steve V said...

I haven't knb. Feel free to give a review when you're finished :)

ottlib said...

The "Why are they going negative if they have accomplished so much? angle is a good one.

It is not meant to be negative it is meant to plant a seed, one that will be watered and cultivated during the election campaign.

As well, in relation to your previous post Steve it is becoming more and more evident that Mr. Dion is hitting his stride. He has come out with a few good one-liners in recent weeks.

Mr. Dion seems to thrive on the hustings, talking and connecting to people in large and small groups. That can only be good news for the Liberals.

Steve V said...

"it is becoming more and more evident that Mr. Dion is hitting his stride."

I think you might be right, I've had that sense too. Let's hope so :)

Karen said...

it is becoming more and more evident that Mr. Dion is hitting his stride.

I had the same sense, but thought perhaps I was putting the cart...

So nice to find people like you two and more of course. Validation of abstract thought is always good.

I'll give you a review Steve, if I get to reading this weekend. If you can catch some of the CPAC replay of the 2020 conference, there are some really interesting sessions. I know it sounds boring, but it really wasn't. For me, you could identify in gov't and other realms, who the old farts are and those who are looking forward.

Tomm said...


The ads are certainly a good idea. The LPC has to begin increasing its presence.

I think they will be effective, the question they pose is one that resonates with Canadian's in general.


Anonymous said...

It would be great to see al gore do one of these ads with stephane...he would do it for free to help his fight to stop global warming.

Aaron said...

Charest suffered in the recent election from the perception that he had failed to deliver on his promises. When he repeatedly emphasized partition and the PQ referendum, many felt he was trying to deflect from the ineffectiveness of his governement. Rather than present a strong record, Charest emphasized the negatives --a referendum-- about his opponent which further turned off many voters like myself. Charest's campaign plan did not work out.

Harper is also trying to run on negative fuel. But unlike Charest's negative campainging, which by the way did not approach the intensity of Harper's, Harper is making stuff up.