Friday, December 09, 2005

Go Negative or Go Home

(Cross-Posted to the CTV Weblog)

The NDP are nice. They are a nice party full of nice people with good intentions. Ed is a nice man, Jack is a nice man, Jack’s wife seems like a nice lady. They poh-pah the Tories and Liberals for engaging in all out war, preferring to be respectful of the political process.

And what has it ever got them?

While Canadians consider themselves to be “nice” people, we don’t seem to have a problem with our politicians playing dirty. That’s why ads with teenage girls crying and guns being shot at viewers work.

That’s why I really think the NDP are on the right track with their new TV ads. Unlike the gawd-awful Tory ads, these ones look slick and go right at the Liberals, which is what the Dippers need to do. Only by hammering away at the Liberals day and night, running negative ads, and going after Paul during the debates, can the NDP avoid becoming marginalized, like they have been in almost every election in their history.

The fact is, there are 4 or 5% of the voting population who are soft NDP voters. These people tell pollsters they’ll vote NDP between elections and generally agree with the NDP. But as soon as they think an angry Albertan might become Prime Minister, they back to uncle Paulie. The only way the NDP can ever expect to make a breakthrough is if they convince those voters to stuck it up and vote NDP. There are two things they need to do in order to accomplish this:

1. Portray the Liberals as horrible monsters who don’t deserve to govern
2. Make it known that they don’t think Stephen Harper isn’t really such a bad guy

The fact is, no matter how great a positive message the NDP puts forward, the only way to get these voters back is to hammer those two messages home.

Nice doesn’t win.


  • It's a rare occassion, in fact. But I completely, totally disagree with you on this one.

    And I don't know anyone who is even encouraged to vote (and know quite a few who don't) based upon the nasty convolutions alone. Take the highest road possible I say, if you want me to spend the time listening to you.

    Critical mindedness is necessary, but intellegently so. It is pretty hard to want to vote for anyone whom comes across so much more an idiot than ourselves... Respect goes a long way.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:32 a.m.  

  • It depends how you do it ricia. The ad in question punctures the Liberals, but does so with wit and humour. I think it is brilliant.

    By Blogger Greg, at 11:36 a.m.  

  • I don't think the CPC should run ads like this until after Christmas.

    Last debate Duceppe ate Martin alive. Layton seems to have learned to lose the goofy smile. By debate time he needs to learn how to cut deep with a pleasant smile.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:49 a.m.  

  • Thats the single best NDP ad I have ever seen, and by far the best ad of the campaign. Welcome to the election, Jack.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:02 p.m.  

  • Interesting. I had the exact opposite reaction to that ad. On the other hand, I hate attack ads, no matter who they're attacking.

    I guess, as NDP supporter this election, I should be glad that they are taking steps to stop the soft voters from going to the Libs. I should be glad that if they're going to use attack ads that they are least reasonably graceful attack ads.But I still don't like it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:53 p.m.  

  • Anonymous said "I don't think the CPC should run ads like this until after Christmas".

    Funny, I was thinking the Tories shouldn't run ads like those EVER. The Tory ads are TERRIBLE. They make last election's ads (which were AWFUL) look polished and professional.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again, if the Tories want to win, they should fire their entire communications team. Everytime I see one of those cheesy amateurish ads it makes me want to vote for the Tories EVEN LESS. I swear they lose 3 or 4 votes everytime those ads air, just on the chessiness alone. If you can't even run a commercial, I'm not letting you run the country.

    Then again, if they REALLY wanted to do well they'd fire their policy team as well. But I guess that would only leave Harper by himself running the show. And NO ONE wants to see that (Paul Martin excepted...).

    By Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own, at 1:34 p.m.  

  • lko: I don't think the CPC should run ads like this [the NDP's] until after Christmas.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:40 p.m.  

  • Well that's the most polished ad I've seen thus far in the campaign, but its' still the same-old, same-old from the NDP. Attacking corporations and the rich hasn't done them any favors thus far and I don't suspect it will do much for them this time either. Those corporate tax cuts will stimulate growth and keep investment dollars flowing into this country. Anyone who's taken introductory economics will see right through it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:42 p.m.  

  • Uh, pardon me, you takers of the high road, but....

    It's television advertising. There is no frigging high road.

    Television ads don't allow time for you to say anything serious. Your options, therefore, consist of a number of low roads, each equally reprehensible.

    You may choose to boil a complex issue down, dishonestly, into a catchy tag line. Or, you may choose to criticize the other party for its myriad failings and its general uselessness.

    But the one thing you can't do is to take the high road, because you have only 30 seconds to make your point, and you want the audience to remain awake.

    That's a very good ad, actually. It makes its point very clearly, outlines the differences between the Liberal and NDP positions, and does it all with its tongue firmly in its cheek.

    By Blogger AJSomerset, at 1:45 p.m.  

  • "Those corporate tax cuts will stimulate growth and keep investment dollars flowing into this country. Anyone who's taken introductory economics will see right through it."

    Like Paul Summerville, for example?

    I like people who've taken introductory economics.

    They're so cute when they pretend to be smart.

    By Blogger AJSomerset, at 1:48 p.m.  

  • The real reason people don't vote for the NDP is that NDP policies are anti-job.

    It would be impossible to fund the free tuition, $10,000 month welfare payments, and billions in grants to every union/special interest group in Canada, while simultaneously driving business out of Canada and creating 100% unemployment.

    They're fine as a small voice in parliament, and most of them *think* they have good intentions, but the NDP is just too irrational to have Canadians give them any more than a few dozen seats.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 1:59 p.m.  

  • You ever see a gunfight where the on guy runs out of bullets and gets that stupid helpless look on his face before he gets shot? Usually, he sticks his head out and shouts "can't we talk about this?" The moral of the story is this - the Liberals have run out of bullets and the last thing they want is anyone attacking them. A) it means they have to bring out their attack ads earlier than they want, and lets face it everyone has seen them before. B) It forces them to try and defend a whole bunch of stuff they would rather not ever talk about again - especially when they have had their finger in the national piehole with this income trust boondoggle. Lastly, attack ads are way more fun and the entertainment value is priceless.

    And YES the CPC ads suck - yank them and fire the eighth grader who made them - I don't care how cheap he is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:59 p.m.  

  • Wonderdog is right on this one. It's impossible to explain a complex issue in 30 seconds - especially if you want to catch the viewer's attention. Positive ads will oversimplify your point and be somewhat disengenuous anyways.

    This Ad works because:
    1. It's entertaining, so people will pay attention.
    2. It's memorable
    3. There are no lies or terribly misleading statements in it, so it's hard to criticize.
    4. It reminds people of the corruption issue.
    5. It's not only corruption based, since it talks about the corporate tax cuts, which is a pet NDP issue.

    It's without a doubt the best ad of the campaign so far. The "30 million reasons" ones the Liberals are running work well too. Everything else has been pretty much garbage so far.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:28 p.m.  

  • >>>It's television advertising. There is no frigging high road.<<<<

    Boy, that is the truth.

    By Blogger Michael, at 3:38 p.m.  

  • I know my take doesn't really mean much on NDP matters, but I really wasn't that impressed with the ad. Maybe it's because I had heard it was going to be hilarious from Allan Bonner on Politics with Don Newman and then was dissapointed when it didn't live up to those expectations.

    By Blogger Hishighness, at 3:40 p.m.  

  • They're pretty slick ads for the NDP. I didn't think they're ads were bad last time around, although they had Jack with the Goofy Smile in them. If Layton has improved anything in this campaign its that he doesn't look like he has a bottle of Prozac in his pocket and he's not afriad to use it.

    Although now that someone mentioned that he looks like the Video Professor in those ads, its going to be difficult not to think of that.

    By Blogger Chris, at 4:13 p.m.  

  • Those first two ads from the NDP were terrible. The CPC one are FAR worse.

    But that ad, my, that one made me howl. It is perfect.

    I hope the rest of the ads are like thatone and not more of Jack's talking head. I like Jack, but lets get the message out, not the messagner.

    I hope they get on TV soon...

    By Blogger Mike, at 7:50 p.m.  

  • How can you come across as an aggessive meanie when half your platform is to legalize drugs.

    I mean do drugs make you violent or make you docile and hangin' for a chocolate bar?

    It's thin ice for those dopes.

    By Blogger J West, at 12:50 p.m.  

  • Sometimes Negative is the only way to expose the truth

    this site is absolutely hilarious and most of it is true

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:46 p.m.  

  • Calgary will prove once again its utter lack of political diversity and sophistication by being the only major city in Canada to elect nothing but Conservatives. Calgary West in particular is a glaring example of how a do-nothing, Mandela-hating, holier-than-thou gay-bashing Neanderthal can get re-elected time after time by voters who can't be bothered to take an honest critical look at their MP's positions. In any other large Canadian city, Anders would be an embarrassment, but hey this is Calgary where anyone, regardless of competence, can get elected as long as they run under the Conservative banner.

    10:28 AM

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:38 p.m.  

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