Kudos to the Liberal brain trust for the relatively rapid response to the Conservative attack ad. Quite pleased in this corner, both because of the quick response, as well as the decision to pivot off the Conservative attack ad. There is some risk with this particular approach, some will accuse Liberals of being "reactionary", but when you consider the angle Liberals are trying to cement, completely in line.
I argued last week that the Liberals would be wise to respond in kind to the Conservative ad. Given we've already been told Trudeau will attempt the high road- offer a "different" approach that conveys a certain positivity- contrasting with the Conservatives is already a chosen narrative. In using the Conservative ad, Liberals frame them as negative and petty, then the contrast with a positive message.
We can argue about the impact of attack ads, general consensus is they "work", although there are degrees of effectiveness that preclude blanket proclamations. With this particular attack ad, I submit a measure of blowback, no question, both in terms of coverage and response. The Liberals set a record for fundraising with their "call to arms", the manifestation of which is the ability to air a healthy retort ad.
While people can argue that attack ads work, there is also ample evidence that Canadians don't like these ads. We have this tension, people don't like the presentation, yet that presentation still impacts opinion. With this apparent contradiction in play, the Trudeau ad is quite clever that will help it resonate. The ad essentially asks the viewer if they are sick of attack ads and want something different? This frame will find fertile ground, because we repeatedly tell pollsters we tire of negative politics, we seek a positive vision. In using the Conservative ad, we actually do attack their approach to politics by contrasting ourselves, making an appeal for something different.
It remains to be seen if the Liberals positive approach can work, many shrewd operatives believe you have to go negative to be effective. That said, one has to appreciate the mood of the country to correctly gauge how a campaign thrust will play. There is little doubt, within Canadian politics people are completely and utterly turned off by the current state of affairs. If that is the backdrop, than a presentation which attempts to break free of the status quo, challenge us to rise above certain standard operating procedures, that thrust may find a waiting audience.
In addition, let's not lose sight of another critical dynamic. The Conservatives attacked the Liberals, the Liberals are now responding to the Conservatives, the dialogue surrounds this "fight". Where are the NDP in this discussion, are they not being completely squeezed? An added bonus of a Liberal ad, it keeps the frame within the two party exchange, which is a positive all day long for the Liberals.
I love the ad focus, I love the direct response to the Conservative frame attempt, I love that we have responded in short order.