Saturday, October 04, 2008

Election ’08 Ad Watch: Here Come the Greens

Also: Democracy, Poverty, Nature, Economy,

First Impression: And I thought the Tory ads had low production values...

Ad Intent: Introduce voters to May, and portray her as an "anti-politician".

Tagline: There is no tagline! What a maverick party!

Things that Work: I've already said I like the train tour so it seems as good a place as any for a fireside chat commercial. And I'm sure most grade 12 English classes could figure out some sort of good political metaphor for the movement in the background.

Things that Don't: I'm left searching for the gravol...not so much from the train movement as from the idealistic platitudes.

On the Air? Does anyone know if these are actually airing on TV? Given that I was viewer number 201 on youtube for one of the ads, I sincerely hope so.

Cliche Score: The average score for the five ads is about a 3, just for some of the gems May churns out. Among my favourites: "it's not about the politicians, it's about you", "the other parties lost the thread of democracy", and "when you talk to a single mom".

Rating: I'm not going to go easy on the Greens and rate them on a different scale - if they want to play with the big boys, they get treated the same.

With that in mind, the issue ads don't work, because they don't give anyone a compelling reason to vote Green over the grits or dippers. So the economy one gets a D, poverty gets a C, and the environment gets a C - the environment one is especially disappointing because it's a topic the Greens have the potential to hit a home run on, and instead all we get from May are aimless platitudes. The Liberals have done a much better job with their environmental ads so far, mainly because they were willing to get messy and land some punches (and they actually tell people what the Liberals are promising to do).

That said, I'm going to give the "grassroots" and "democracy" ads B grades. And that's because they do give you a reason to vote Green - mainly, as a protest vote. The biggest chunk of Green voters aren't voting for them because of the environment, they're voting for them as a "none of the above" option or because they're sick of politics as usual. So if May can introduce herself to Canadians and play on this, well, maybe some of them will take the time to go vote for her on the 14th.

How Would You Rate These Ads?
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  • 23-year-old May was a lot more substantive than the May in that ad.

    By Blogger Mike514, at 6:14 p.m.  

  • I think the Quebec deputy green leader is some kind of mini celebrity and those ads are a little more lively. I'm not so in love with EM's side view on the train and I've seen her more effective in candid situations in videos online. Her spark is missing here. Low budget or not, I'm amazed the greens are even running ads.

    By Blogger Noir Novelist, at 6:15 p.m.  

  • If its going on tv they'll need to cut it by four seconds.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 6:22 p.m.  

  • I saw one of these on CBC (Ottawa) during Dr. Who (9-10 pm) last night. I quite liked it.

    By Blogger The Dude, at 7:58 p.m.  

  • This is the only one I've seen -- not impressed. Still, it's cool that they have ads...

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 8:20 p.m.  

  • I can also confirm it was on TV. It was on CBC's "Antique Roadshow" this evening in the east.

    By Blogger Oxford County Liberals, at 9:11 p.m.  

  • I give it a C. I like that she's trying to buck the trend in political advertising, but there's also a reason for the conventions that exist in political ads: they work. Not having a tag line means that the ad will not be as memorable for most voters. I think that this message will resonate with the young, idealistic, alienated voters who make up the Green's core vote. But it won't really play outside that demographic.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 p.m.  

  • I suppose the ads get their point across, but since they're filmed just like an episode of The Office, I have a hard time taking them seriously.

    By Blogger JG, at 10:00 p.m.  

  • OK, Elizabeth May, ads... Yeah, whatever.

    Let's focus on what's important.


    The only numbers I'm interested in reading once a week, and you're late. It's as if you have a real job, or something.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 1:49 a.m.  

  • You know what I am tired of? Politicians claiming to be political outsiders (and May is NOT an outsider - she is friends with Bill Clinton) that will do things differently. The Green party should be a disappointment - they are using their limited budget to run ads that do nothing to illustrate why they are different except that they run on trains and don't "package themselves like toothpaste" (what is funny is that this is a paraphrasing of perennial loser Adlai Stevenson's quote) - probably because they have no money. The Ontario Greens at least pushed some new ideas, for instance, abolition of the Catholic school board - getting 10% of the vote with no placement in the debates and no media attention.

    The Liberals and Conservatives are not a waste of a vote - they have ideas and the ability to implement them. The NDP is not a wasted vote - while they may not form a government, they stand for something you wouldn't get otherwise and force the Liberals to the left. The Green Party is a wasted vote - they offer nothing new policy-wise, and only a divisive, fanatical and often foolish leader.

    They have created vote-splitting on the left, even though frankly nobody on the left should vote for May. May has a long anti-abortion record, and unlike the NDP has consistently failed to acknowledge the major economic fallout to particular sectors of the economy and regions of the country of the kind of structural change she is proposing.

    I hope May gets thrown out with the trash instead of recycled this election - even though her presence benefits my preferred party (the Conservatives).

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 1:59 a.m.  

  • The ad doesn't do much for me. I was hoping the Greens would spend their advertising budget more wisely.

    Saw another one similar to this one at 12:00 midnight on Global (middle of SNL).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:18 a.m.  

  • I've seen 1 Liberal ad so far here in Atlantic Canada all campaign. Please tell me this isn't the same across the country.

    By Blogger me dere robert, at 3:25 p.m.  

  • Watching the hockey game..

    Ads by the Greens, new CPC ad, new NDP ad. Nothing from the Liberals.

    Hope the Liberal campaign knows what it's doing.

    By Blogger me dere robert, at 4:04 p.m.  

  • I caught the Green ad for the first time on SNL last night (in Toronto) too.

    Jack's "new strong" ads have been getting a heavy Daily Show/Colbert play of late, after Harper had been heavy earlier in the campaign in that time slot.

    The Liberal ads still get a lot of newsworld play time.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:12 p.m.  

  • Excellent analysis on the ads. My thoughts exactly.

    The Greens should highlight the other Green voters across the nation making it seem more like a revolutionary movement with a lot of momentum.

    By Blogger Mike B., at 1:20 p.m.  

  • I saw it on TV during the episode of Heroes.

    By Blogger mezba, at 9:12 p.m.  

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