Thursday, September 04, 2008

Election '08 Ad Watch: See the Softer Side of Steve

Also: Stephen Likes Veterans, Stephen Likes Immigrants

Initial Reaction: Who is this man and what has he done with the vindictive bully I've come to know and love over the past three years?

Ad Intent: Soften Harper up. "Uncle Louis" him, some might say.

Tag Line: "We're Better Off With Harper"

Things That Work: Harper sounds more genuine than the "average Canadians" who were raving about him in the first wave of ads.

Things That Don't Work: He likes veterans. He likes immigrants. He likes his son. So?

A Leader...of Fashion Trends: Stephen Harper tries valiantly to make sweater vests trendy again!

Cliche Score: Couches and fireplace in each ad gives 3 points total. Talking about why you love veterans and your family is worth 2 points each...talking about why you love immigrants is worth 1 point. The Canadian flag also gets half a point, and the soft sensitive music gets 1 point for each ad it's in. Add it all up and you get an average cliche score of 4.2 for these ads.

Grade: B+ It's like diving at the Olympics - you need to factor in the degree of difficulty. And making Stephen Harper look human has a very high degree of difficulty. Hence the good grade.

Reader Grade:
How Would You Rate This Ad?
See Results

Review of Previous Tory Ad



  • I like the Ad.

    By Blogger huffb1, at 12:46 a.m.  

  • Brutal. What does that have to do with being a PM? C'mon.

    By Blogger rob, at 1:10 a.m.  

  • After the gentle vote. Good ads because they don't offend anyone. Trying to frame Harper as a nice, softy.

    Since they have buckets of money the Conservatives can air them before election limits kick in.

    I applied my DION TEST - what if it was Dion in this ad, what would I think? I would think it was a foolish waste of money. Weird.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:54 a.m.  

  • Hmm, interesting. They blocked normal comments, but not video responses...

    Methinks some enterprising young Liberals have some work to do!

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 1:55 a.m.  

  • If Stephen Harper made an honest immigration ad it might look something like this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:39 a.m.  

  • Wow - totally irrelevant to the election, but I'm impressed. The CPC can be tone-deaf on these things but that really did accomplish its goals. Cliched music and etc (as you point out) but he's very natural and very relaxed. I gave the last one a D, but this one I'd give a B. I'll consider an A for the sake of "wow, what improvement".

    I'm really wondering today if he can take a majority while Layton gets Opposition. More and more this looks like a potentially exciting and tough-to-call race.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 8:12 a.m.  

  • So if you were Stephen Harper's son, watching tv at a friend's house, and that ad came on, how embarrassed would you be?

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 11:01 a.m.  

  • Also I was impressed with the production values of Quebec prends des forces.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 11:02 a.m.  

  • Doesn't Captain Hammer also have a thing for sweater vests? They're making a comeback!

    By Blogger Don, at 11:11 a.m.  

  • The Conservatives are practically begging for this election to turn into Harper vs. Dion. Probably not a bad strategy.

    By Blogger McLea, at 12:15 p.m.  

  • Wonder how clean this campaign is going to be with Harper being front and center in the Conservative campaign plan and with Dion promising not to run a negative campaign which if true is a completely insane comment. Harper and the Conservatives if poll numbers are true really do not need to be spending much time attacking Dion as Canadians already see him as a weak leader but instead sell Harper as they have been as non-scary average Canadian who can be trusted with a majority and is the only individual acting like a Prime Minister. Well, Dion attempts to run a "clean campaign" allowing Layton who if the NDP do run a serious negative campaign against Harper may appear more like the official opposition then Dion. Now, I fully expect Dion and the Liberals to remain the official opposition but this could change things in future greatly if Dion is truly planning on staying clean though I highly doubt it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:33 p.m.  

  • I think these ads hit the right note.

    Get the Uncle Steve image out to the voting public before the writ drops, after which Liberals will begin digging up Harper quotes from 10 years ago in an attempt to frame him as the Devil reincarnate.

    I think we also have to consier that he's courting women here (no, not in that way). Immigration? Playing piano with his son? These aren't ads that will motivate the base, but they might make the fairer sex start to think of him as a real human.

    By Blogger sir john a., at 1:56 p.m.  

  • I really want someone from the media to ask Harper what level piano he has.

    By Blogger Bailey, at 2:20 p.m.  

  • Harper probably plays the piano the same way he's "writing a hockey history book"'s something he thinks about doing but doesn't actually do.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:35 p.m.  

  • "after which Liberals will begin digging up Harper quotes from 10 years ago in an attempt to frame him as the Devil reincarnate."

    From 10 years ago? The Liberal cameraman got reams of stuff from the RCMP raid on the CPC hQ. In-Out, In-out, In-Out!

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:36 p.m.  

  • Can't a man be a control freak, on the job
    and a loving family man and patriot?
    Will Libs attack Harper, the person, in ads?

    As for digging up quotes, and trying to prove Harper can't be trusted, didn't Dion speak out against a carbon tax when he was enviro min and in the leadership race?

    Van Sun has an August 2006 article with Iggy campaigning on a carbon tax, increase in GST and increase in excise gas taxes.
    So the dragging up 'quotes' goes both ways. And the most damaging to the Libs are much more current than 12 years ago.

    By Blogger wilson, at 3:15 p.m.  

  • I notice alot of negative remarks against the Cons and Harper. It might be a good idea to focus on your guy instead. Good luck going into an election with Dion.

    If you think Harper's ads are bad, just wait to see what Dion puts out. Better have your Kleenex handy.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:56 p.m.  

  • Interesting as always, Sir John A. I think you're right.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 5:14 p.m.  

  • If the ads were meant to portray real society, the children would ask about Global Warming and the Veterans would question why they died in WWII if boomers won't sacrifice a few SUVs to leave something for the children.
    Where's the vision?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:47 p.m.  

  • Honestly the music, the unhuman like sentimentality, the sweater vest and the terrible choice of solo piano music made me vomit while watching this.

    That was a very very painful ad to watch.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:07 p.m.  

  • This ad is totally absurd and irrelevant. While it's nice to hear that Harper has softened up from the formal handshakes to actually playing cards with his children, what does this have to do with running the country? It just shows the contempt that Harper has for Canadians - expecting that this kind of inane fluff should help him win an election. Hopefully he's wrong, and people will see the irrelevance of this.

    We're not voting for father of the year, we're voting for the leader with the best vision, most capable of steering us through a recession, developing a plan for our future economic competitiveness, and making Canada a leader in the international community.

    Harper apparently has no economic plan other than to further emasculate the federal government with more tax cuts - part of his plan to shrink government down to irrelevance.

    His latest cynical pre-election spending promises ($8.8 billion) will put us back in deficit territory for sure. They're cynical not because they're buying votes, but because they go against conservative principles of not giving handouts to special interests, or subsidies to ailing businesses.. showing that Harper is only too willing to betray his principles for power. Just like he's cynically broken the spirit of his own election law, and in so doing is betraying the accountability principles he was elected on a few years ago; he's shutting down Parliamentary investigations of possible Conservative overspending in the last election, tying accusations of Conservative bribery up in the courts through his libel suit so they can't be reported in the campaign (reminds me of Singapore where the government keeps the feeble opposition quiet by constantly suing them every time they criticize the government), etc..

    Harper is just Mulroney redux - rebuilding the old coalition of fence-sitting Quebec sovereigntists with his permanent Western base; talking fiscal responsibility while driving us further and further into debt; playing follow-the-leader with the US President when he is reviled around the world for his reckless foreign, economic and environmental policies. We've all seen this movie before, and we know how it ends.

    Even if Harper is a kind and gentle father, it's not gonna help any of the rest of us..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:02 a.m.  

  • Pretty helpful material, thanks so much for the article.

    By Anonymous, at 2:58 a.m.  

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