Attacking the attacks

by Aaron Wherry

Greg Fingas considers the NDP’s new web ad.

Well, the good news is that the NDP has avoided the trap which regularly tripped up the Libs. Rather than portraying the Cons’ dishonesty as an affront to the official opposition (which would have been rather easy to do given that the columns cited refer to lies about the NDP in the first place), the new ad highlights the relationship between the Cons and the public. So viewers with concerns about the Cons should react relatively similarly regardless of their relationship to any opposition party.

But there looks to be ample room for improvement in the execution, as the ad is both text-heavy (featuring only a single photo of Stephen Harper at the beginning), and based entirely on media opinions rather than direct quotes. Which means that it doesn’t build much of a connection between the Cons’ contempt and any actual Cons – or even any of their talking points.




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Attacking the attacks

  1. Sorry Greg, but the ad was tripe – all of it. From annoyingly shaky cue cards to quotes that virtually add up to TPs for the NDP themselves. Too much over cutesy marketing stuff there, not enough straight talk. [ Mulcair calmly explaining why the lies were lies perhaps?] You’d think the NDP might have their own focus group guys to screen this out? Really, no ordinary non political person would bother to read that from cover to cover. FAIL!
    Catchy soundtrack though. I see SH shakily riding a uni cycle around a big top, along with his retinue of clowns and dancing bears, alternately falling off and tripping over each other as they throw sweeties and balloons into the crowd carrying the legend: NDP JOB KILLING CARBON TAX [ pulling along behind their own Carbon tax wagon of course]
    Honestly, my version would have been more fun at least.

    • “……..Really, no ordinary non political person would bother to read that from cover to cover. FAIL!……”

      How do you know?
      Have you empirical data to support this assertion?
      You should also refrain from appending the word “FAIL!” to the terminus of an unfounded declarative – you will be thought childish.

      “………Honestly, my version would have been more fun at least……..”

      Let’s see it then.

      • An assertion made without proof can be dismissed without proof, so knock yourself out. It is how it struck me. I generally regard myself as an ordinary, if moderately political guy. Do i need to prove that in order to receive your approval? I think not!
        Let’s see what?…it was a assertion,a bit of a lark, requiring no particular proof, maybe a sense of humour – no more? Stop being a self appointed, pedantic, dick.

        • “…….I generally regard myself as an ordinary, if moderately political guy……”

          And rightfully so I reckon.
          I, as I am sure you would agree, am an arrogant girl – and for good reason. You, conversely, are a modest woman/man, also for good reason.

          “………Stop being a self appointed, pedantic, dick……”

          I am not self-appointed – I’m paid to do what I do.
          To your assertion of my alleged pedantry, I reply with the pedant’s stock retort,
          “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much”
          (Luke 16:10).

          Finally, can girls be a dick? I think not.

          • Oh dear, reduced to stealing good lines from WC, my sympathies.
            My apologies. Dare i ask who pays you? And why?

    • Agreed. The Broadbent video is way better than this effort.

      I would have a quick cut of every conservative MP that uttered the phrase “carbon tax” in the House of Commons. There have been some 60 MPs repeating that phrase ad nauseum. Surely enough for a 15 second spot.

      Maybe set to the music of Looney tunes, with a heading “the levels of emissions in the House of Commons are now at alarmimg levels. What is the Harper Government talking about? Why are they so obsesssed about something that does not exist?

      • You got the idea.

        • It’s an idea, but it’s a bad one.
          There’s evidence that, by repeating misinformation in order to debunk it, the misinformation is reinforced. The first thing an uniformed viewer would think upon viewing Sinope’s ad is “sure it doesn’t exist – because the NDP hasn’t formed government yet”
          I think a non-specific message that Conservatives are liars who are making a mockery of democracy is a better approach.
          If you wanted to be more specific, an ad contrasting various Conservatives touting Cap and Trade with Conservatives denouncing C&T as a “tax on everything” would be a better idea.

  2. Well, I think the bigger issue is one of branding. You have this party that claims they are going to do things differently, they are calling for more decorum and respect…..and then they do attack ads (and they yell and interupt in the HOC as much as anyone). Eventually, the public is going to be confused…kinder and gentler? or tough and ready to fight fire with fire?…..neither position is bad, but trying to be both is going to be a problem.

    • “……Eventually, the public is going to be confused…….”

      Are you new?
      In the Normal Distribution of IQ amongst the Canadian people, the mean and mode are 100 and the median is much less than that.
      Are you aware of how stupid an IQ of 100 really is? Confusion is not only endemic, it’s congenital, and politicians cannot affect it!

      • Which is hardly a reason to pander to it either, is it?

          • Oh, i don’t know; maybe by promising Canadians to not only expect more, but demand it? If you prefer cynicism that’s your choice, but it isn’t mine.

      • Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say the public is stupid. They are apathetic and they are not paying attention and for very good reason. The ‘act’ of poltics has overtaken any semblence of actual work and reason on parliment hill…..the horse race is on and it’s on 24/7. My comment merely points out that the NDP have a bit of a branding dilemna…..are they the kinder, gentler party that calls for things to be more respectful (per Cullen)? or are they the party that takes on Harper head-on and fights fire with fire (and I am being kind here….they are using the same half-truth tactics as the Conservatives in this ad)? As I said, either is fine…..but trying to play both sides of the coin will lead to distrust on the part of the public as they try and figure out who this party is.

  3. I agree the ad could’ve been done better. But they are on the right track. The opinion of columnists is valid enough when it comes to a non-partisan issue like the truthfulness of Harper’s talking points or attacks. If Harper has earned a bad reputation, nothing wrong with pointing it out.

    But less is definitely more. You have only a few punches you can throw; select the hardest hitting ones. It’s much better to have an announcer reading the quotes.

    I think the message should be more direct, like: “Stephen Harper will say anything to hold onto power.” Make him look desperate.

    • I beg to differ……the columnists all said and pointed out how false the Conservatives’ Liberal attack ads were and it made not a whit of difference to the public. And…..it’s not their job to defend at any rate (or at least that was the explanation at the time of the Liberals onslaught. I mean honestly……people do really think Igantieff isn’t a Canadian citizen). I dont’ think the solution is attack ads…..I think their effect has worn off, they are less startling than they once were and it frankly just makes you seem like you are just as bad. They work on the people who are loyal to the party….but I wonder at this point if all they do is make the unsure stay at home, but they sure do not change minds.

      • I think attack ads are here to stay. Ignatieff and Dion played the role of punching bag hoping people would just ignore it. But the opposite happened.

        These attacks are not unlike social situations. If a person shrugs off slights or insults, whether they are 8 or 48, they just end up looking lame. Certainly not leadership material. A person has to stand up for themselves and dish it right back. That’s what people expect.

        The only way to take the high road is with truth-in-advertising legislation *after* being elected. Until then, the object of the game is to find ways to seriously discredit your opponent in the public eye. Pound and beat them until they are bloodied and bruised laying on the mat in the fetal position.

        When Dion was savaged by Harper in the media did people feel sorry for him? No. They thought: Harper’s right; he is not a leader… That’s human nature hard-coded in DNA. According to evolutionary psychologists, it would take about 15,000 years to change it (at the minimum…)

  4. Don’t you see!? We’re playing directly into their hands… they’ll scope out all the critiques (especially this stuff) and sift it for all the golden nuggets! Then when they make *your* golden ad, where will your success and name be!? They shall reap what you have sown, good sirs and madams, and laugh as they lift their wine-filled goblets! Laugh – at you!

    But seriously, I’m not a slow reader but it’s hard to read the full quotes and I don’t like feeling forced to focus on so few words. Just… add, like a second or two to each? Or does that mess the NDP logo/Deserve better crescendo?

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