More evidence that a federal election is near:the Conservatives are rolling our campaign-style TV ads.
How do they rate?
Well here's my review.
Not a bad ad. It's designed to appeal to the risk-averse nature of your typical voter with a simple argument: why rock the boat when things are working? And simple arguments are the best. The script is also quite good as it drives home a few key points. On the downside the visuals are weak. Why the shots of Prime Minister Harper working at his desk, signing papers and drinking coffee? If the Prime Minister were wildly popular -- ala Ronald Reagan -- this would make sense. But he isn't. Why not have shots of people happily working in factories, or some sort of visual that reinforces the message? Also this is the sort of ad you run when you are a clear front runner, it will keep the voting base you have, but it won't win new converts. If the Tories are to win a majority they will need to make a stronger case. Score: 6 out of 10.
Not surprisingly the Tories are going to make attacks on Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff the centerpiece of their election messaging strategy. And why not? He's too tempting a target to ignore. Hence this attack ad. And overall it's pretty good. I like the sinister music, the visuals work and most importantly the message manages to link the bland Ignatieff with the scary and radical agendas of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois. Using Ignatieff's own words in the ad also gives it punch. It could use a little better production values and the bit about Ignatieff "Coming back to Canada" is a little too subtle. Score: 8 out of 10.
In this ad the Tories go after the NDP. Now attacking the NDP is a good strategic move for the Conservatives, but this ad is taking the wrong direction. Why? Because the Conservatives need the NDP to get stronger so it can eat away at the Liberal support base. The way to do that is for the Conservatives to attack the NDP on ideological grounds. What I mean is if the Tories blast the NDP for being "left-wing pinkos" it will have the effect of rallying wavering left wing voters to the NDP camp. However, this ad attacks NDP leader Jack Layton for being "ambitious" and for trying to set up a "coalition." That's tactically the wrong message. It just won't do the trick. Score: 4 our of 10.
Here's an ad I hope never airs on TV. I found it offensive when the Liberals played to bigoted anti-American feelings to score political points and I find it just as offensive when the Tories use the same odious ploy. Besides strategically speaking this ad will not do the Tories any good. It will only appeal to NDP types and left-wing Liberals who will never vote Tory. Score: 2 out of 10.
OK this is the worst of the lot. Terrible. Composed entirely of Ingatieff statements clearly taken out of context, its designed to make him appear unpatriotic. This is so crass it's almost an attack ad parody. It's this sort of nonsense that gives negative ads a ... well a negative reputation. Score: 1 out of 10.