They Didn't Get It Done
The first half of the spot features a grim-faced, black and white close up of Paul Martin that is slowly zoomed in on to the accompaniment of ominous background music, as the lugubrious narrator intones, "When you've been in power for 12 long years, when your party has been named by a judicial investigation into corruption, when scandals continue to engulf your government. What message can you possible take to the people of Canada?" As Martin fades to black, a chyron from the Globe & Mail (from before the election) appears - "PM Plans Negative Campaign." This too is zoomed in on as the music swells.
The take home message - it's not a good sign, when you're in power and the only message you can bring is a negative one. I don't necessarily agree with that view, but I thought it was fun to bring it back up...
As for the new ads,
I like attack ads. I thought the 2004 "gun point" Liberal ads were effective, and I thought the 2006 Tory "entitlements" ads were brilliant. Using old quotes from the Liberal leadership debates is certainly fair game - Dion knew there was a cost to mixing it up with the other candidates when he played the pitbull.
I'll go against the majority and say that running attack ads against Dion is sound strategy. I'm a firm believer that it's very important to define new leaders during their first few months in charge, so now is the time the Tories (and Liberals) should be trying to define Dion (especially when you have the cash to do it). And by going after the Liberal environmental record, Harper is definitely playing scorched earth in the hope that voters take the "none of these guys will do anything on the environment" approach and it becomes a non-issue. Once again, probably a good move given the Liberal environmental record.
But the ads themselves? It looks like Harper let Ben and Rachel try their Youtubing skills out. They're crap. I know a lot of people believe that the "amateur" look works for attack ads, but there's just no oomph behind them. Michael Ignatieff saying "we didn't get it done" during a leadership debate? Is that really going to change anyone's opinion? More ranting about the billion dollar boondoggle? Yawn. The only one of the three which might work is the environment ad since it has some cold numbers spliced in to the Iggy clips but it's debatable if it's worth taking the "they'll go neg" hit and paying the Super Bowl rates to air it.
As an add on to the ad talk, the BC Young Libs have a nice You Tube video out which I can't resist since I'm a sucker for anything which trashes Harper to the tune of U2.