Monday, January 29, 2007

They Didn't Get It Done

Remember this, from a little over a year ago?

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.


  • who cares if it is worth the price, the TOries are rolling in the dough. They have enough money that they can try things out like this.

    The Libs on the other hand are broke. Maybe you can post one day on the on-going fundraising efforts of the LPCA.

    By Blogger fartcatcher, at 1:57 p.m.  

  • As far as personal attacks go, these ads are mild and stick to politics rather than the personal. I like them, but I wonder if the average Canadian will be able to make sense of Ignatieff and Dryden playing supporting roles in the ads. In some ways, I think the ads presuppose that voters have at least a cursory knowledge of "insider" politics. And for that reason, I don't think they're great ads.

    By Blogger Uncorrected Proofs, at 2:17 p.m.  

  • I agree with you CG that now is the time to define Dion and that negative ads can work.

    However, I think that these ads will be effective and that if the Liberals do not come up with a plan to counter them, we will be in deep trouble.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 2:22 p.m.  

  • Wow, interesting.

    I thought the ads a poor idea - I'm more interested in parties telling me what they will do, how they will do it, and why than seeing attacks.

    I suppose I'm an anomaly - attack ads turn me off. I know that study after study says they are actually effective, though.

    All that said - they're not negative. No scary music, no sinister grain over photos - they stick to straight replays, which is better.

    But I do agree, the ads are not very good - I'd love to know how much someone was paid to do these. I know lots of unemployed editors who could do bang-up jobs worlds better than this for $200...

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 4:02 p.m.  

  • It's a lot of money to spend considering only 16% of Canadians think that the Libs have the best record on the environment.

    By Blogger Jordon, at 4:03 p.m.  

  • I abhor, detest and despise the "gun" ad (although it worked). I've rarely been so furious at a political party as then. Government comments concerning the relative insignificance of the adscam $100M came close though.

    While this set is clearly one of "attack ads," and it's not very statesman-like, I'm curious to see how the public reacts to Tory-funded criticism of Dion by other Liberals. I think that fact will lessen the stigma the Tories will carry from having run the ads.

    By Blogger matt, at 4:18 p.m.  

  • The truth about the Dion needs to come out . . . . Cdns have a memory about as long as their last beer. A little refresher is necessary . . .and with their own troops.

    Maybe Dion should run in the election in France!!!

    By Blogger EX-NDIP, at 4:28 p.m.  

  • criticism of Dion by other Liberals

    Hmmmm Matt. Very interesting thinking. You know, I think you might be right.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 4:44 p.m.  

  • Given that, traditionally, the conservatives have wined about Liberal negative advertising;
    Furthermore, the conservatives will again make the same complaints regardless of what (if any) advertising our party does in the future.
    Therefore, be it resolved that we give the conservatives something to whine about by using the slogan:
    "If you vote for Harper this time, Al Qaeda wins"

    By Blogger ktr, at 6:40 p.m.  

  • Ktr,

    that is so out of left field that you must do yoga to twist yourself up like that.

    Dion has been getting a free ride from a fawning press, despite his mangled english and inability to handle off the cuff questions.

    Canadians have to see the real Dion not the airbrushed and sanitized version the media is showing.

    By Blogger renegadejet, at 7:41 p.m.  

  • Don't attack ads work better when you're speaking from a position of superiority?

    Oh yeah the Liberals did nothing for the environment... that's why we "Canada's New Government" first slashed their environmental programs... and now we're bringing them back only with less funding... good show everybody.

    By Blogger MERBOY, at 8:41 p.m.  

  • renegade said:
    that is so out of left field that you must do yoga to twist yourself up like that.

    Renegade, next time I can't defend an attack on a liberal, please remind me to use your response except changed to right field.

    if you want to suggest the claims are true, that is your opinion, but my point is that you can not complain about negative ads in the future, or say that we started this negative before you. no more whining from nutjobs like you please.

    By Blogger ktr, at 8:57 p.m.  

  • CalgaryGrit

    Thank you for your honesty. As far my attitude regarding attack ads, it all depends upon a number of factors:

    Do the ads contain purported statements of facts that are true or that are false?

    Do the ads represent fair comment or blatant misrepresentation?

    If the ads contain quotations or statements attributed to individuals, do they give sources for said quotations or statements?

    Do the ads engage in personal attacks against an individual's character, or appearance? I'm thinking in particular of the 1993 Tory ad that basicly made fun of Chretien's face - now that was really disgusting, but I digress.

    Do the ads try to pit one province or region against another? I'm now thinking of a 1997 Reform Party ad that basicly pleaded for no more leaders from Quebec - another disgusting ad IMHO.

    Do the ads try to paint another party as full of evil monsters, trying to do nothing but generate fear and loathing? This latter factor is extremely important to me because I try to assume that as Canadians, we all want the same basic things: peace, prosperity, fairness, justice, equality of opportunity, good government, at home and around the world, but we just happen to have honest, honourable disagreements as to best way of achieving these objectives.

    By Blogger Brian in Calgary, at 9:11 p.m.  

  • By the way, I'm a Conservative.

    By Blogger Brian in Calgary, at 9:12 p.m.  

  • I think these ads are lame - at most they might make political neophytes confused, but they seem to be preaching to the converted. And while I realise political ads shouldn't seem too slick, is it too much to ask that they don't seem cheap?

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 10:46 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Brandon, at 10:46 p.m.  

  • The reference to the Stern Review in that youtube video was pretty ironic, considering that the targets set by the Clean Air Act far exceed those recommended in that very same review.

    And it certainly beats that 27% increase in GHG emissions under the Liberals we're hearing about.

    By Blogger Brandon, at 10:47 p.m.  

  • These ads are mild compared to the attack ad used or almost used by the libs last year, remember those? All politicians attack the opposing side, that's life and we are the fools...ciao

    By Blogger Rositta, at 12:00 a.m.  

  • The ad with Iggy & Dion sparring about not getting it done,it's not fair,hard to set prioritys,eyes rolling is absolutely hillarious.Dions in real trouble if the public continues to laugh at him as they now are!.Dions been branded as a bit of a whiney poof.

    By Blogger greyburr, at 9:45 a.m.  

  • Attack ads certainly are more interesting.

    I like the U2 one as well. The one (and only?) point in Dion's favour is that he recognises the importance of the issue. But like Chirac, Annan, Blair and the others, his record is no better than Harper's.

    It's just lip service. Fortunately for him, that's what Canadians want. :)

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:34 a.m.  

  • The ads are certainly negative as they attack a rival party rather than advocating for their own.

    It's appalling that a governing party runs stuff like this when there is no election campaign. I can't recall any governing party in Canada ever having done this.

    It's a continuing trend of the Conservatives where practically every environmental statement made here or abroad has included criticisms of the previous government, as did their statement about the Arar compensation.

    I think this cheapens the realm of political discourse. It may win the particular battle, though I'm not sure it will. But for those of us who, perhaps quixotically, hope for a more enlightened approach to political debate, it's an unprecedented set-back.

    FWIW, I also thought that the Libs "We're not making this up" ads were awful.

    By Blogger Abrawang, at 10:38 a.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 10:50 a.m.  

  • These ads are mild... but the timing of them is the interesting thing, as we commented on the Blogging Hotstove. Why release them now? I think its because they're scared.. they know the environment is a killer issue for them, so they're attacking the chief proponent of them. Why not release POSITIVE ads showing what your government supposedly has done the past year? I think these ads either dont do much or they turn people off to the Tories for making them.

    The other thing is, if the Tories are forced to withdraw these ads because they violated copyright law, that negates any effect they may have had for them and makes the whole party - and Jason Kenney in particular - pretty foolish (IF true).

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 10:52 a.m.  

  • The ads have already had their desired affect. MSM got public's attention saying they were nasty 'attack ads'.
    This actually raised the bar as to what , in the future, will be considered and attack ad.
    Anything harsher than these will now be considered 'down right dirty'.
    Maybe PMSH was banking on the 'gang' attacking the 'attack ads'.
    Sure does make it harder for the Libs to put out attack ads in the future, doesn't it.

    Super Bowl was booked a long time ago. Do you really think that anyone of these 3 ads will be aired then? IMO , we haven't seen the Super Bowl ad, yet.

    By Blogger wilson61, at 11:38 a.m.  

  • Does anyone have a link to the "They'll go Neg" ad?

    By Blogger Hammering Jow, at 12:19 p.m.  

  • Here's the BEST, non-partisan, purely scientific article I have *ever* read on climate change. With blame for both right AND left, and difficult physics to grasp (I'm an idiot on physics), it's a tough read, but a must-read.

    h/t to Dodos for it.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 5:06 p.m.  

  • It really seems like the CPC is gearing up for a spring election, despite what Harper's been saying lately.

    Some comments on the new CPC ads...
    The ads mentions broken promises: what about Harper taxing income trusts after promising not to?
    The ads mention that the previous Liberal government didn't do a whole lot on the enviromental front. A lot of talk from the CPC regarding what the Liberals didn't do. A lot of focus on mistakes that the Liberals made while in power. Is this to take focus off what the 'New Government of Canada' is currently doing? Are the Cons so insecure in their own policies that they can't stand on them?
    Lastly... what is it with the Conservatives and the word boondoggle? Somebody get them a thesaurus.

    By Blogger Raparee, at 9:07 p.m.  

  • The attack ads smack of Conservative desperation, although you do have a point, CG.

    By Blogger John Murney, at 3:04 a.m.  

  • This cannot succeed in reality, that is exactly what I suppose.

    By Anonymous muebles madrid, at 1:15 p.m.  

  • By Blogger mmjiaxin, at 7:49 p.m.  

  • By Blogger jeje, at 4:01 a.m.  

  • By Blogger raybanoutlet001, at 11:52 p.m.  

  • By Blogger raybanoutlet001, at 9:22 p.m.  

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