With June now in full swing, we’re starting to see more and more third party groups, and of course the parties, ramp up their activities. And with the amazing deep run in the NBA Playoffs by the Toronto Raptors, that’s pushed some of these groups to purchase some prime TV ad spots, with large audience guaranteed to see. It was with that in mind that we saw three videos go around that fall into that category, and a fourth that will surely end up there at some point. So tonight, we’re going to quickly go over each video for what they might mean going forward.
The first is an ad that will be playing on TV tonight from Engage Canada, going back to a theme they have been touching on:
Engage Canada’s second video is short but packs a punch, touching on a topic that many pollsters have noted; the connection between the Scheer Conservatives and their provincial counterparts in Ontario. The fact is that so far Mr. Scheer has been led around by his provincial counterparts, to the point where he very much lives in their shadows. Given the increasingly unpopularity of Mr. Ford, that is not a good thing for them. So Engage is being smart to focus in on that, driving home that point. Also I give bonus points for their re-imagining of the infamous Maclean’s “The Resistance” cover photo; turning into a gilded portrait like they did sends a message all it’s own and is very effective. This ad really made me think of today’s newest editorial cartoon from the Toronto Star:
The next video that, according to media reports, will be aired on national TV tonight is from a group called “Shaping Canada’s Future” and it plays on an old theme from four years ago:
Yep, we’re back in the boardroom looking over Justin Trudeau’s resume. Yawn! What’s the difference this time? Oh it’s performance review time! The ad tells us very little that’s new and even takes a cheap shot comparing him to his Dad. All in all, it’s very uninspiring but at the same time it’s clear that this ad is not aimed at Conservative voters in particular. This strikes me as more of an attempt at voter suppression, as it’s audience seems to be more towards progressive voters who are disappointed with broken promises around electoral reform and a general disappointment at not seeing a revival of the original Trudeaumania from the 60’s and 70’s. Also, when I saw this ad I could help but ask myself about a big hole in the plot of this scene; if this is a board, the same group that hired him in the first place and are not unhappy with their decision (assuming that they are thinking of firing him), don’t those board members bare some of that responsibility too? I mean if we take this ad to it’s natural conclusion, that means that the group who were “interviewing” him in 2015 ended up hiring him, right? All in all, this ad is a boring premise with holes that you could drive a Mac truck through.
The third video tonight comes from the folks at UNIFOR, who have been on the receiving end of many attacks from the Conservatives for a long time now. The Blue Team has been trying to run UNIFOR and their members through the mud, so it’s through that lens that I noticed this ad from them tonight:
Of the three ads that came into my Twitter feed tonight, this is the best in my opinion. For starters, it sends a strong, cogent message that focuses on the positive rather than the negative. It also takes the wedges that others are trying to use to drive Canadians apart and calls them for what they are, while offering a positive alternative and vision. In this day and age when we see negativity all around us, it’s very refreshing to see a group putting an ad together that talks about the best of who we are and can be, not driving people to our darkest demons. To me, this ad has the best chance of being the most effective in this environment simply because it stands out so clearly from the pack in that way. It effectively taps into the urgency of now and why this election matters, and then offers a productive, positive way to deal with that urgency. Tip of the Hat to the UNIFOR team for this one.
Finally tonight, there was another video out there today making the rounds, one that I honestly didn’t plan on commenting on tonight. But tonight I heard one person whose opinion I respect make a great point; there’s no way this video doesn’t become an attack ad. So with that thought in mind, I decided it was worthy of examination and discussion. Here is the video in question:
Wow, sorry but by any objective standard that video is bad for the Prime Minister and the Liberals. It’s just over twenty, devastating second that could end up in the same category of some of Stephane Dion’s escapades from the 2008 campaign. First off, the Prime Minister was obviously not prepared for that question, one that he should have had a good answer to, ready to go. If he had that answer, that wouldn’t have led to such a stumbling answer. The stumbling itself was almost a circus-like pratfall, a verbal version of something you’d see in an old Monty Python episode. It was bad. But probably worst of all is that this clip completely overshadowed his big announcement on single-use plastics, one that already wasn’t going to be the easiest and without opponents. And on a day when every media outlet in Canada is glue to Jurassic Park in Toronto and nothing should penetrate the media cycle, this video blasted through it and got it’s 15 minutes. That’s really bad and could join the pantheon bad political events with the likes of a certain dropped football or an infamous wet-suited waterski ride onto a beach in the Okanagan. It’s a video that speaks thousands of words while saying very little clearly, and it’s for that reason it will be irresistible to someone trying to turn it into an attack ad.
We’ll see what effect all these different clips of video will have on the electorate in the Fall, which videos are hits and which videos turn out to be big duds. But again, at this point in the cycle I keep having to point this out; it’s only June. If this is what we’re seeing now, I wouldn’t expect it to be tone down by the Fall. I would expect the opposite, which probably means we’re in for a very long election, one that will probably not be one of the finest in our countries history.