Sunday, September 06, 2009

Hi, I'm Michael Ignatieff

New Liberal ads are out today. Here's the English one:

Refreshingly positive and a good, subtle counter to Just Visiting.

The French ads are, quite literally, a bit darker:



  • What idiot launches their ads on the worst earned media day of the year. Way to bury them.

    By Anonymous Doctor Tom, at 11:04 a.m.  

  • I find the camera work very distracting in the English ad. Could they not get a tripod?

    By Anonymous Urban Spork, at 11:16 a.m.  

  • Doctor Tom: "What idiot launches their ads ..."

    Well ... you can bet the Cons are looking at them and are thinking of counter attacks.

    My theory is they are running these ads up the flag pole to gauge the reaction and will tweak the message from there. You don't want a full scale launch to do that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:25 a.m.  

  • These are "launched" on Youtube and Facebook only. The actual TV release is in the next week.

    By Blogger Oxford County Liberals, at 11:47 a.m.  

  • I read on another blog that there are 20 BQ MP's who will qualify for their MP pension if this parliament sits until June 2010. I don't think it will be the Liberals who decide if we have an election this fall.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 1:09 p.m.  

  • Vote Liberal, because under the Conservatives, Canada is the envy of the world. What a message!

    By Blogger Paul, at 2:20 p.m.  

  • Is it just me, or does he really look like David Orchard in the English ad?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:13 p.m.  

  • "..........and there is only one thing we can do about this and that is live the way we are supposed to live. As our constitution commands us. Being an American is not easy, it is hard. We are required as a country to keep some very serious promises. We are judged by a high standard the one that was crafted for ourselves in the founding document of this republic." - Michael Ignatieff

    These ads are an utter flop in the face of this Iggy gem. Is THIS what he meant by "we" Canadians doing better?

    "We" can do better by making sure a person who identifies himself repeatedly as an American never becomes Prime Minister.

    And we Canadians will. Count on it.

    By Anonymous Lycan Stark, at 4:13 p.m.  

  • I like the French Iggy messaging better because Harper will be defeated by demonstrating to the average Canadian, in easy to understand, short messages, why Harper is not fit to be Prime Minister. I hope future ads focus on how Harper treats his own caucus (Alblonski, Chong, Casey)and opposition politicians like crap and how this mean spirited attitude has made him unable to lead a minority government.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:05 p.m.  

  • nuna d. above you hit the nail right on the head. Good job.

    By Blogger CS, at 6:19 p.m.  

  • I watched the English ad and thought:

    That's it?

    Going 'positive' means bringing forward ideas or promoting a specific vision for the country. This ad tries to be warm and fuzzy but put me to sleep halfway through it. There's nothing there other than some nice words spoken by a relatively bland voice.

    The French ads at least outline why Ignatieff thinks Harper should go. Even though his position is utterly hypocritical (he pushed for more deficit spending but now condemns it?) at least he is making it clear what he wants to do if not how he will do it.

    All in all, I think the English ads are a waste of money and the French ads are too easy to be refuted.

    Ignatieff needs to fill in the blanks as to what he wants to do if he became PM or the CPC will fill those blanks in for him. You can bet that the CPC is preparing some French ads in their war-room outlining how transfer payment cuts in the 1990s under Martin/Chretien meant less money for the provinces and out Ignatieff wants to imitate them. And in English you can bet they are going to continue to portray Ignatieff as 'the man without any plan' and as arrogant and aloof.

    By Blogger Eric, at 7:08 p.m.  

  • Note that someone has hijacked the Liberal ad on Youtube and inserted an Ignatieff comment on terrorism.
    The Conservative attack machine is in overdrive already.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:20 p.m.  

  • Not bad, but not memorable at all. 2 out of 5. Probably just the first salvo introduction of the Pax American to get soft-liberals to even pay attention.

    My guess is the ads maybe staved of .05 points.

    Summary... weak ads.

    By Blogger Mike B., at 2:52 a.m.  

  • English Ad:

    I get the origins and "subtle" countering in the English ad. I get that it's an intro that says "look, I'm not the devil, and my international experience gives me a certain 'perspective asset' for the job ahead".

    But, this ad is good in a rather nice, un-impactful way. It's a warm bath, at a time when he needs to seize our attention and motivate folks to shirk their stay-the-course/not-going-to-bother-voting ambivalence and (1) vote; and (2) vote for change.

    Change is hard. Gov'ts lose elections when they defeat themselves. I'd like to think this gov't has done that - but I don't think they have just yet. Despite all the rudderless, shortsighted, hypocrtical politics-over-governance.

    So, Iggy really needs to make a case. And this is a warm bath like those John Tory endorsement ads in Spring 2007. Nice, but lacking motivation or argument.

    I also realize these ad campaigns should ideally occur over the course of 3 waves to gradually introduce, raise questions, make the argument, reinforce. But, I'm not sure we have the time or the money for this approach? Not if the election is going to occur as soon as Iggy says.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:34 a.m.  

  • The English ads flow consistently from Ignatieff's posturing. He has presented himself as being "above the fray", relative to mean old Stephen Harper.

    His ads are not memorable, but may help him look better in contrast to mean and negative conservative ads that are soon to come. Moreover, the real battle of the election involves defining Michael Ignatieff, since he is the biggest unknown for most voters.

    This is a marked difference from the 2008 campaign which was overwhelmingly negative (I checked the Liberal site, which ran 14 different negative ads, and about 3 positive ones). It flopped because whether or not you like Harper, he is well-defined already, so ads targeting him are unlikely to make a big difference.

    Moreover, the Liberals chose to de-emphasize their leader in the campaign, so there was nothing to counter Conservative attacks on Dion. Indeed, the only time the Liberals gained in the campaign was after the debates, where Dion featured prominently. Even if your leader sucks, convincing 30% of people that he is good is a gain, if previously only 15% of people think he is good.

    Ignatieff wants the election to be about which leader is best for Canada - him or Harper.

    If Harper is smart, he will combat this on two fronts. He will run negative ads attacking Ignatieff (who, being ill-defined, is potentially vulnerable there), while his positive ads stress his party and policies (ie. the recovery stuff).

    I guess Harper could also show some clips of his interviews in the US. He looked very good in those.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 11:59 a.m.  

  • CG - Anon @ 10:20 has a point. If you type in "Michael Ignatieff Ad" on YouTube search the first few items you get are the Michael Ignatieff attack ads and then you get this Narnia Parodoy of the Ad:

    You need to keep scrolling down until you actually get to the real one here:

    And then yes floating around is another one which is poorly done with the Terrorism comment on it:

    Dammit ...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:46 p.m.  

  • Hey CG, when the campaign officially gets going, how long before the MSM latch on to ALL of these examples of Ignatieff portraying himself as an American?

    I wager 2 weeks tops.

    By Blogger Ardvark, at 12:50 p.m.  

  • "Hey CG, when the campaign officially gets going, how long before the MSM latch on to ALL of these examples of Ignatieff portraying himself as an American?"

    Why would they start now, given that the Tories ran ads of that nature months ago, and have continuously had that "ME" site up.

    I don't think "Ignatieff is too American" is an effective attack. If I was going to attack Iggy it would be as a flip-flopper, and/or on the coalition. I would only do the latter if things looked bleak.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 4:47 p.m.  

  • Unlike Ignatieff, I do NOT want a government that thinks big.

    Thinking big is what got us a huge debt, high taxes, programs we can't fund properly, and a monster deficit.

    I'd rather have a government that thought SMALL.

    (But ... is there one?)

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 5:14 p.m.  

  • "I do NOT want a government that thinks big."

    I interpreted thinking big to mean a longer term vision for Canada ... something along the lines of where the country had a more important role on the international scene, an economy based on the development of new technologies, an improved health care system, etc.

    A smaller government doesn't necessarily lead to better conditions.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:49 p.m.  

  • "I do NOT want a government that thinks big."

    Big thinking is a good thing! Don't the negatives you list stem more from management and execution than from thinking big? I bet lots of things you like about Canada resulted from big thinking.

    By Blogger Ashley_Wilkes-Booth, at 8:13 p.m.  

  • Dear CG,
    it's my impression you're a poli sci post-grad who's used his stats skills to do some interesting political analysis over the last year or two.

    I'm going to ask Greg Morrow the same thing, but I was wondering if one or the other of you (race!) had thought of posting on the effects of voter turnout for the various parties, beyond just a simple apparent correlation but using all that nifty variable analysis you've learnt (SPSS - "Sexiest Program Since Slicedbread"?).

    If we have an election this Fall we're probably going to fall to a new low in electoral turnout and I suspect that bodes badly for a centrist catch-all party like the LPC. But I'm too lazy and ignorant to do a proper analysis. So I thought of you and Morrow!



    By Blogger Eugene Forsey Liberal, at 10:46 p.m.  

  • Eugene - Interesting...but I'm not sure how appropriate it would be to just correlate voter turn-out rates with vote results. I guess the best bet would be to look at it riding-by-riding (or even poll by poll) to see the change in vote turn-out between elections and the change in vote share. Then you could see who benefits. Although voter turnout has generally been droping as has Liberal support, and I'm not sure that's neccesarily a "cause and effect" relationship.

    I'll ponder over that for a bit.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:39 a.m.  

  • There's something to be said for defining Iggy as a big thinker, who offers a positive, forward-looking vision of the country.

    Especially when contrasted as Harper.

    And there's no point in going negative until Iggy has been defined himself.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:40 a.m.  

  • EFL, please please be careful about falling into the myth of low voter turnout.

    What has been claimed by the media as low voter turnout is in fact nothing more than putting more eligible voters onto the voters list who never had any intention of voting in the first place.

    Ballots cast as a percentage of the overall population has been quite stable for decades (give or take a couple percentage points). Ballots cast as a percentage of the voters list has been declining, but our voters list is now built up from tax return enumeration instead of door-to-door enumeration.

    You can check the math yourself:

    By Blogger Paul, at 8:17 p.m.  

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