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Government advertising doesn’t work, except in the way that it does

It probably doesn’t matter how many people use the Action Plan website


 

The Harper government’s advertising barrage seems not to be rallying the general public to action.

But a survey of 2,003 adult Canadians completed in April identified just three people who actually visited the website … Just six per cent of those who said they recalled the TV ads that began running in February this year reported doing anything as a result.

… And among the few people who took action, nine said all they did was complain or “express displeasure” about the 30-second TV spots, dismissed by critics as thinly veiled Conservative propaganda. The poll — mandatory under federal advertising rules — did not report anyone who called the toll-free number shown on screen, 1-800-O-Canada, another explicit goal of the ad campaign.

Of course, this only matters inasmuch as you believe that the ads exist for the purposes of connecting Canadians with the services of their government. A poll conducted a year earlier suggests the ads are quite effective in another regard.

The internal Privy Council Office analysis of the April 2012 post-advertising survey may provide a clue to the Harper government’s continued use of EAP ads. The analysis, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, notes that among those who had not seen the ads, 42 per cent approved of the overall performance of the government. But the number rises to 47 per cent among those who had seen the TV spots, a five-percentage-point boost in popularity attributed to the advertising campaign.

As Jim Flaherty (hilariously) explained in May, government advertising exists because “Canadians are entitled to what their government is up to.” And as Lisa Raitt explained last month, of ads for a jobs grant that doesn’t exist yet, “it is important to communicate it to all Canadians so that they can see themselves, or see their own potential, in those commercials.”

In that regard, it’s probably important to note a paragraph further down in CP’s weekend story.

A spokesman for the Finance Department said other surveys show overall awareness of the government’s action plan campaign has risen to a high of 62 per cent this year from a low of 20 per cent in 2009.

So a greater percentage of people than who voted in either of the last two federal elections are aware that the government is doing something. That likely amounts to a resounding success.


 

Government advertising doesn’t work, except in the way that it does

  1. Will Canada’s Economic Action Plan include a float in this year’s Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade?

    Adding a CEA label to the bulging briefcase can’t be that expensive.

  2. Yeah, but among those who had not seen the Lucky Charms ad, 25 per cent approved of Jim Flaherty’s performance; but the number rises to 37% among those who had seen at least one Lucky Charms ad and 42% for those who had seen three or more. Among those who had seen more than 50 Lucky Charms ads, approval of Jim Flaherty stood at an astounding 92%.

  3. It is also important to note that 2,003 people is in NO way representative of all Canadians. That number is probably not even representative of all the people in Toronto. I wouldn’t put to much stalk in them.

    • Pollsters routinely use sample sizes in that range for national opinion polls and have comparable accuracy on much more volatile subjects than this (such as voting preferences). But for argument’s sake, let’s address your complaint:

      Given that polling contracts are based on the number of responses provided (out of all the hangups, angry shouting, intoxicated babbling, etc.) and 2003 responses cost $29,000, just how much should we spend to find out if these EAP ads are either useful or useless?

      $290,000 to get 20,000 responses? $2,900,000 to get 200,000 … stop me when we get to a representative sample.

    • Be bold. Stalk a few people in Toronto anyway, just to test your premise.

  4. These ads are cooked up in Harper’s Ministry of Truth, which is comprised of 4000 communications staffers (paid for by taxpayers.) This Soviet-style information-control bureaucracy is in constant war (campaign) mode.

    When they design EAP ads, they test them out on focus groups (again paid for by taxpayers.) No doubt, they tailor the ads towards getting a favorable impression of the Harper Conservatives as a good economic managers.

    Of course, the Harper Government doesn’t need to win over the entire electorate with these ads. Due to our corrupt voting system, it only needs 39% of the vote to get 100% of the power. Therefore they are designed to target moderate conservatives who will vote for Harper on the economy.

    The 2011 election was on May 2nd. May 3rd kicked off the Conservatives’ 2015 election campaign, of which EAP ads are a prominent feature.

  5. Liberal media type has shown his life`s mission is to report on Conservative government affairs with his own special slanted anti-Conservative, subjective, and inaccurate style that appears to be an attempt to satisfy his 19 followers.

    Liberal media type then expresses surprise and outrage when government chooses to inform public in another manner.

    • Let’s reserve judgement until we see how he approaches
      the faults and follies of government when another party
      achieves 35% on 60% turnout. Perhaps you’ll be pleasantly
      surprised by his efforts then. Never know, eh ?

      • Well, if that unlikely scenario ever happens then Liberal media type will probably be posting from inside the PMO.

    • Step 1: Conservative reads a report they don’t like.
      Step 2: Conservative realizes they have no argument to refute it.
      Step 3: Conservative blames endemic media bias without offering any evidence to support their claim.

      You gotta love the classics!

      • It’s especially ridiculous in light of the fact that it’s so obvious that Wherry is totally biased in favour of the Conservatives.

      • This report you speak off reads more like a submission to liberal.ca. I have no interest in arguing or refuting these ” reports ” that Liberal media type continues to spew out.

        • It never ceases to amaze me how far some conservatives will reach to attack anyone who criticizes their party.

          I won’t try to reason with you. It is impossible to reason with someone who is unreasonable.

  6. Really, I view it as government propaganda. And I did not get polled, I do not do them.

    Here is why the whole program is a monumental farse. Government cannot create productive jobs, they can only rob Peter to pay Paul.

    If you tax a dollar from 50,000 people and make a $50,000 job, tou have not really created a job. Why is simple, collectively the 50,000 people will have one less dollar to buy stuff so it results in a $50,000 job loss to offset the job gain for zero effect.

    Above is simple, because it gets worse as government adds non-value added consumption overhead so it lowers the standard of living for 50,000 people.

    Government cannot create wealth, it can only consume it and reallocate it.

    The only value is to brainwash Canadians that Ottawa is more important than it is. To make people believe government is important when it is not.

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