Monday, September 15, 2008

Election ’08 Ad Watch: Harpernomics

The Liberals finally drop the gloves:

First Impressions: This must be one of those fun Where's Waldo where did they hide Stephane?

Ad Intent: Attack Harper and frame The Green Shift as an economic issue.

Tagline: Let’s get started. (I have yet to see a strong tagline/slogan from any of the parties so far this campaign)

Things that work: The Liberals actually attack on the economy, which is good (not the economy...attacking on it). It's an effective attack that backs it up with a positive message about the Liberals.

Things that don’t work: I'm not sure the "last place to invest" attack will resonate much outside of Ontario, so I'd be running this one almost exclusively there.

I Guess the Cowboy Picture was Unavailable: The black and white pose of Harper is possibly the most flattering picture ever used in an attack ad - the man looks 20 years younger in it.

Cliché Score: 1.5
The Canadian flag gets half a point. Saying "turn the page" while literally turning the page on the screen is worth a point (and kinda clever). Normally I'd give out a point for the "black and white" attack picture but it's a good picture of Harper so no points for that.

Grade: B+.
It's not what I'd call a memorable ad, but it should be an effective one.

Reader Grade:

How Would You Rate This Ad?
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On the air? As always, be sure to report actual sightings of the ads in the comments section. I'm curious where they're airing, how often, and on what kind of shows.

Previous Ads: See the softer side of Steve, Bad actors love Harper, Jack Attack, THE Green Shift, Viva Los Vegas



  • Do you usually put your leader in an ad that's more negative in tone? Harper is noticeably absent from every negative Conservative ad, and I don't think it's because putting him in wasn't worth the risk.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 8:43 p.m.  

  • Smart to attack on the economy on a day when the markets crash.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:08 p.m.  

  • This is by far the best ad the Grits have come up with. It will test the electorate's comfort levels with a Harper majority.

    In other words, if this doesn't work, the Grits are in big trouble.

    By Blogger ALW, at 9:23 p.m.  

  • " Smart to attack on the economy on a day when the markets crash."

    Except that the biggest losers are oil companies, and oil prices just fell under $100. It kind of takes some wind out of the "oil companies are predatory and evil" line.

    "Do you usually put your leader in an ad that's more negative in tone?"
    This is not exactly a negative ad, but more of a contrast ad. Also, Dion's negatives are so low he could wear a Maple Leafs jersey in Montreal and come up more popular.

    I'm not sure it explains the Green shift sufficiently either. They need one ad aimed primarily at education. The words "green shift" were in tiny letters at the top and the linkages were not clear (like that "making polluters pay" funded the income tax cuts).

    The other thing I wonder about is what exactly "creating green-collar jobs" entails. Obama bandies this around a lot too - I'm not sure it is effective though (although it is more politically savvy than saying "our reforms will put people out of work").

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 9:23 p.m.  

  • The polluters who are going to be made to pay? All voters. And I think most voters understand that.

    The part they might not understand so well is that the burden of the new tax would be disproportionately borne by lower-income Canadians.

    By Blogger Paul, at 9:35 p.m.  

  • Paul - Wouldn't higher income Canadians be taxed more seeing as how they use for carbon?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:54 p.m.  

  • NOT STRONG ENOUGH. Compare Sydney Tar Ponds next to devastating lakes at the Alberta Tar Sands. Show a picture of the two-headed fish next to a smiling Harper.

    Today, Harper gave the War Room a gift. Use his all-is-o.k. financial assessment and put it next to a senior citizen who has lost 20%+ of their savings since the TSX fell from 15,000 earlier this year; put it next to an unemployed auto worker in Flaherty's riding; next to a struggling family (A FEW OF THOSE HARPER MADE ALL HAPPY AND FUZZY TODAY).

    And get Dion at the Stock Exchange and start empathisizing with those who are not doing so well economically right now!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:59 p.m.  

  • The part they might not understand so well is that the burden of the new tax would be disproportionately borne by lower-income Canadians.

    -- and --

    Wouldn't higher income Canadians be taxed more seeing as how they use for carbon?


    I wouldn't think someone with double the income (250k vs 125k) don't use twice as much fossil fuels. Carbon use isn't directly proportional to income. That is why there are no tax benefits for income earned above 125k per person.

    Just as the rich don't pay more proportionally to income, the poor pay more as a percentage of their income.

    That is why for lower income people there are massive tax benefits, just like the GST tax refund for lower income Canadians.

    By Blogger Concerned Albertan, at 10:16 p.m.  

  • Liberal candidates aren't finding it "easy" to explain the Green Tax Shift at the door. They are also complaining about the lack of an overarching theme to the campaign... but don't mind me, I am obviously a Conservative troll.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 10:51 p.m.  

  • The question is, will the new Liberal ad be the story tomorrow, or Garth Turner?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:49 a.m.  

  • mississauga peter - I think you may be on to something - do it split screen with Harper being all sunny and roses on one side and the headlines of economy doom and gloom (plus the sad Canadians of course) on the other. Toss in a flury of headlines about economists trashing Harper's proposals and that could make for a great ad.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:19 a.m.  

  • It would at least counterbalance the one sided attacks on Dion.

    I say 2 commercials this evening on the CBC and then CTV news. Both were Conservative - 1. attacking the Dion and the Green Shift; 2. sweet, sweater man talking about the great economy.

    The aforementioned ad is only effective if it gets air time - free or bought. If it is just the war room trying to keep us happy, then we are in real trouble. I hope someone confirms they have actually seen the commercial run on tv or have heard mention of it by MSM.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:34 a.m.  

  • “Paul - Wouldn't higher income Canadians be taxed more seeing as how they use for carbon?”

    Deb is absolutely correct. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has estimated that the top 10% in income (in Canada) has 2.5x the environmental impact of the poorest 10%. Seems logical?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:15 a.m.  

  • A for effort, but truly, seriously not good enough.

    Harper's a good PM, but he hasn't been great and has left himself open to lots of attacks from worthy opponents - this hits the target, but with a lacklustre punch.

    Still, it's nice to see a bit of competition for our votes, at last.

    Who's idea was it to call it the "Green Tax Cut" on this site? Great idea, one the Libs should have figured out a long time ago.

    Dion's not a bad guy at all - a bit clueless and oblivious, but so are many successful leaders (Bush for one). I really think the Liberals should be pushing him more, countering the "not a leader" attacks.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 10:25 a.m.  

  • Great production value, but the tone misses the mark.

    The Liberals need to get down and dirty here. They are behind. And they aren't closing the gap.

    Yes, the ad takes a swipe at Harper, but the narrator's voice and the music just don't create the type of atmosphere, for lack of a better term, that is going to want to get me out to vote against Harper.

    I suspect the ads will get nastier as we plod along, but I think this one is just a love tap.

    By Blogger sir john a., at 11:07 a.m.  

  • Today's Ekos poll has the Liberals fourth in Alberta,and third in every other part of the country except Ontario where they are second. The Liberals will now try to go hyper-negative to save whatever seats they can. They do risk becoming a joke if they go over the top.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:33 p.m.  

  • That peter guy has a point. Harper clearly doesn't get how worried people are, despite his "economic stewardship" lines, and keeps on reinforcing the idea that he doesn't give a damn if people suffer.

    So, fine. Use it. Make him wear it. Make him eat it. Don't think progressives can't win on the economy, just look at Clinton.

    The guy is a font of stupid lines. USE them.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 12:49 p.m.  

  • Oh, and as for running them... make them nasty enough and you won't really need to. A good negative ad gets lots of earned media exposure.

    (Just ask McCain.)

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 12:51 p.m.  

  • Content wise, I'm not so sure you can accuse Harper of divide and conquer politics when your central campaign pledge is a direct assault on energy producing provinces.

    I also can't take the Liberals seriously when they complain about Harper's cuts to government programs when just yesterday Dion lambasted him for leading the highest-spending government in Canadian history.

    By Blogger sir john a., at 3:13 p.m.  

  • Is that actor/blues singer Jim Byrnes doing the voiceover...?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:39 p.m.  

  • By Blogger Unknown, at 3:14 a.m.  

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