Sunday, September 06, 2009

Liberals go bland

Wow, just checked out the new Liberal TV ads which will air this week.

What can I say except: Yuck!

Did Warren - "I am an Ass Kicking, Prince of Darkness"- Kinsella really give these bland, boring videos the OK?

If he did, he must be slipping.

These ads are what you would expect the candidate running for high school president to produce, not a guy looking to knock off the Prime Minister.

What's wrong with them?

Well strategically speaking they make no sense. These kind of positive, hokey ads only work if your guy is way out in front. If that's the case then you can afford to take the high road and make cutesy ads, with smiling candidates emitting vague platitudes in a bucolic setting.

These sort of ads also work if your candidate has slightly more charisma than a wet sponge -- which Ignatieff does not.

The fact is, according to the polls, Ignatieff faces a tough uphill fight. Canadians just aren't warming up to the guy.

Now that wouldn't matter if the Liberals could offer voters an exciting policy agenda. But let's face it, when it comes to policy the Liberals have nothing to offer Canadians that's any different from what the Tories are doing.

Basically both parties stand for bigger government and more spending.

Under such circumstances, the Liberals only have one choice when it comes to ads:go negative.

To be blunt, it's much easier for the Liberals to make voters dislike Harper than it is for them to make voters like Ignatieff.

This is not rocket science.


Jeff said...

Come now Gerry, if the Liberals had launched venomous pre-writ attack ads, you'd be all over them for doing what they'd attacked the Conservatives for doing. So either way, you'd be on them.

But to address is strategically, you are correct in the sense that the way to shake away Harper votes is to go hard after Harper. I have no doubt that, in the election, that will come.

But it's not enough to just shake votes loose. Once loose, you need to get them to come to you. If you don't build your own brand, establish yourself with people as an alternative, then even if they decide to change their vote, they're not likely to take a flyer on you.

You say Canadians aren't warming to Michael. That's debatable, but they do need to get to know him. If they don't, if they don't see him as a viable choice, all the nasty attack ads in the world won't help. Which explains the Conservative pre-writ ad strategy.

The attack ads will come. This is a necessary first step.

Anonymous said...

After looking at this video, I agree that Canada can do better, vote Conservative and send Iggy back to Harvard.
Canada, only worth returning to if they make you Prime Minister.

johndoe124 said...

"when it comes to policy the Liberals have nothing to offer Canadians that's any different from what the Tories are doing."

This is patently false, Gerry. The Liberals have all but promised to take us boldly into that rent-seeking industry of tomorrow, the "Green" industry. I just thank God that we have visionary confiscators of wealth on the horizon. I'm sure they've learnt a thing or two from McGuinty's Liberals. So why shouldn't these ads be bland? The avuncular Mr.Ignatieff is here to show us a "better" way.

"they do need to get to know him"

So, what are you saying, exactly, that the Liberal party we get depends on who is leader? Does that mean that the party can develop and implement policy that violates their constitution? I have a suggestion: start with including individual rights and private property rights in the Liberal constitution, then you may actually have some foundation upon which to build a relevant 21st century party.

Anonymous said...

Gerry, I agree with your post.

MI says "Canada can take on the world and win!" What does this mean? Are we now a superpower about to challenge the USA? Platitudes won't change voters perceptions.

Calgary Junkie said...

Yah, they'll go negative, it's only a matter of time.

Thing is, Harper has turned out to be not that scary.

"Boy Scouts in the streets", this time, maybe ?

Anonymous said...

How much did they pay for this?
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Ignatieff photographs really badly.

We really should congratulate whoever put him in a Tory Blue shirt!

It has a Mr. Rogers goes Camping feel to it.

The message is rather insulting to me though. My Canada already is a great nation and at least I was here to know what that about you Mr. Ignatieff??

What's the translation on the French ads? Same thing? I don't speak French.

Kadam said...

Ok, what? Maybe what we have seen out of Micheal so far is exactly what the Liberals are selling. Maybe there is no substance, no vision and no plan.

Truth is, for each of us pay that attention and analyze every gesture, there are 10 others that have no idea exactly what is happening or no belief that politics is all the same and it makes no difference.

So we that pay attention think such things are weak. To those that don't, this just might be perfect.

Its nice, soft and green. Micheal looks like a decent guy. We can do better? With the Liberals? Well it was a nice, soft and green commercial.

Anonymous said...

"Iggy Does Kindergarten"

Yep. We hicks sure do need some lessons from the Count, eh Gerry!

Anonymous said...

you're wrong Jeff.

The old boys missed the necessary first step in keeping the promise to let the LPOC grass root support elect the next leader and re-define the party.

That first step you speak of wasn't was ignored completely.

What's happening here is Iggy scrambling to save face before Bob throws him under the bus.

Anonymous said...

In French their slogan is we deserve better. That old Quebec sense of entitlement and the nanny state mentality.

Anonymous said...

Tell me, just how much substance is in Harper's just visiting ads?

Anonymous said...

From BCer's blog:

A few thoughts on the Liberal ads

I posted the videos earlier, but I wanted to share a few thoughts on the English ad in particular in response to some of the commentary I’ve been reading.

Many people have been wondering why the Liberals didn’t go negatively after Stephen Harper with this ad. Others have felt it’s a little bland, focusing exclusive on Michael Ignatieff. Well, I think there’s a few very good reasons for both those decisions.

First, if the Liberals had gone harshly negative in the pre-writ period, after going hard after the Conservatives for doing that, it would have been very hypocritical. And while hypocrisy doesn’t bother Stephen Harper (as long as he’s the one practicing it), I know I for one prefer a little ideological consistency from time to time.

Secondly though, and more importantly, I think going harshly negative right now would be a mistake, and not just because it would annoy Canadians. The negative ads will come, but first we need to lay the necessary groundwork to make them effective.

Negative ads will be necessary, absolutely. Not only to shake loose Conservative votes, but to make the argument to swing NDP/Green voters that we need to unite behind the Liberals to stop Harper. Shaking loose those votes alone though is not enough.

We’ve shook loose Conservative votes before. But we couldn’t convert them because we couldn’t provide them with a compelling alternative. That was the point of the anti-Dion ads, and it’s the idea behind the anti-Ignatieff ads. Poison the well. So, in the end, they stuck with the devil they knew and went back to the Conservatives.

First we need to build-up Ignatieff’s profile with Canadians (I'd argue this is coming a tad late) and get them comfortable with him as a compelling alternative so that, when we shake them loose later on down the line, they’re more likely to decide to park their votes with the Liberals. This ad is just phase one.

We can do negative, and I’m confident we can do it well. We have the tapes too, Mr. Harper. But negative alone isn’t enough. It will come, however. I have no doubt of that.

By the way, with these ads, now all three major English national parties have released pre-writ advertising. And the Liberals, interestingly, are the only ones to release a positive ad. Both the Conservatives and the NDP (with their post-coalition radio ads) went negative, and both of them trained their guns on the Liberals.

Interesting, that, no?

Iain G. Foulds said...

... Is that true that the french slogan is "We deserve better"? That's unbelievable.
... The emphasis is no longer on the Liberal party doing better, but the Quebec people getting more.
... Liberals are scum.

Cari said...

I think Michael needs Harper's makeup person, then he would look better for the photgraph?..all false.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the folks that feel insulted.
It was the first emotion, frankly because that is indeed what the message is, "we can do better"...

To say nothing of incorporating China and India, in order to do it?

Feeling as a partisan, I showed it to some new neighbours. They wondered aloud, as a matter of fact, "what, we aren't good enough now"?
Interesting, very interesting!

Marie said...

Of course Ignatieff has a policy. He said "No NEW taxes".

Note, he did not say that he would not raise the OLD taxes.

Already the Liberal media types are opining that raising the GST would be just so peachy keen.

So, Ignatieff - which other OLD taxes do you plan to raise?

Anonymous said...

Dion said to get to know him is to love him. Well we all know how that turned out. The same fate is in store for the Russian Count who thinks after 34 years he should be appointed leader. That is not going to happen. If Iggy goes negative you can bet the guns will be blazing against him by not only the Cons but also the NDP and the Bloc. In Quebec the Libs are the federalist option according to polls. So Duceppe will be after Iggy big time.

johndoe124 said...

"So, Ignatieff - which other OLD taxes do you plan to raise?"

I have a better idea, and one that might actually make me consider voting for Ignatieff: massive tax cuts so that we Canadians can decide for ourselves where to invest our own money. Or is that too "Beer and Popcorn" for the Liberals?

maryT said...

By saying we should take on the world, has he forgotten we will be doing that in BC, in February. It is called the Olympics, and yes lets hope we do better by winning more medals than before.

Anonymous said...


Only Conservative think that uber-nastiness is goof d politics.

Anonymous said...

(Gerry's) line of criticism re the Libs' English ad is as predictable as it is mis-guided. You don't want to introduce your leader to the public with an attack on the other guys. In the words of Jack Stanton, you never want to be the first one to act like an asshole. And when Nicholls writes:

Well strategically speaking they make no sense. These kind of positive, hokey ads only work if your guy is way out in front.

...he misses the point entirely. They also work if you want to give the audience the impression that your guy is out in front, at least figuratively--that he's responsible, has a positive vision for the nation, and isn't interested in partisan cheap shots. You don't want to give the impression that he's a perpetually angry jerk with no class and no couth, if only because the Tory's have that demographic sewn up already.

...Nicholls problem, and the problem with Conservatives generally, is that for them, if you're not accusing someone of being a pedophile or a commie, its just not campaigning.

BigCityLib's Response

Matt said...

when Michael Ignatieff states in the English ad:

"Hi, I'm Michael Ignatieff. Wherever I've worked, I've met Canadians who are the best the world has to offer".

I'm assuming these Canadians are one he met in his 34 years abroad. Does he really think the best Canadians are the ones that have left our borders.

Anonymous said...

Why is Iggy doing these ads in a studio??Forest is moving in the background and he stays centered.??

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7at :07 PM said...

"Why is Iggy doing these ads in a studio?? Forest is moving in the background and he stays centered.??"

You're absolutely correct and deserve to be congratulated for your discerning eyes.

This is Ignatieff messaging to Canadians with a fake studio backdrop which is clearly intended to be a 'real' setting.

Not convinced? Look at the clear image of him contrasted to the background: It's been merged.

The sincerity of the message is shattered even before considering his lofty rhetoric.

Hollywood could fake this much better.

What's next, the same monoloque with Niagara Falls, the Bay of Fundy, Quebec City or the majestic Rockies in the studio backdrop?

I am amazed at the amateurism in trying to deceive the public.

John Trent said...

"Wherever I've worked I've met Canadians..."

I found it odd that Ignatieff would allude to his time spent abroad, as it serves as a reminder of his time spent outside the country.

And there's nothing compelling or memorable about these ads "introducing" Michael Ignatiff to Canadians. I think the Liberals could have done a better job here.

VW said...

I suspect the Liberals picked the wrong background. That's what you use when you want to talk about the environment, but because Iggy was talking about going abroad, they should have photographed him by a road, or at a dock -- something to invoke the subconscious image of travelling.

Anonymous said...

Iggs looks like three week old sandwich, folded over.

Tough sell, and that's fine by me.

gimbol said...

Micheal Ignatieff on past liberal governments.

"we didn't get it done"

Unknown said...

That video is the most useless piece of garbage I have ever seen come out of a Canadian politician. He would have been better off doing a hokey rap ad like Broadbent did for the 2004(?) election.

Iain G. Foulds said...

... The difference between the english and french ads reveals the deceit of Liberal thinking- one message to one group, and another message to others.

Anonymous said...

Ya, right - Nicholls would prefer Canada follow the muck that's going on in the US - all those zanies being negative, telling lies and promoting misinformation and the rest of the world looking thinking the US has become insane.

I'd prefer to keep away from that muck.

AToryNoMore said...

Ignatieff doesn't need to appeal to the the Conservatives.

Any attention paid to ideologues is just a waste of time and money. Forget them!

The Liberals just have to pick up the purple Tories and focus on the vote rich Bloc, NDP and Green crowd.

Steve V said...

Just curious why anybody would care what somebody of your political persuasion would think?

The sun rose in the east today. Is that noteworthy?

Unknown said...

Total Losers

China - India? Where is our USA friends?

That should play real well in the cratered auto plants areas

Show problem - show solution - in 30 seconds

Didn't do it

AToryNoMore said...

Floyd said...
2:24 PM


Uh Floyd,

The areas that have the car manufacturing facilities are generally held by federal conservative members of parliament.

Are you saying the conservatives just didn't do it?

Unknown said...

Uh Atory

The minority government put in big dough to help soften the auto slowdown.

The 30 second argument isn't about who responded - its about who acted and this takes a long term view - to me we've all been milking the cow but not feeding it. But there's no argument to feed an old cow who's headed for the hamburger factory.

Now apply that across the board and look for more time expired policies.

High priced cell phones are a good start. A burned out military is another. A totalled Coast Guard. Doctor shortage. Bridges and roads. Look for the things that bother you on a day to day basis and look for the long term re-investment.

Former governments didn't get it - maybe the current government will.

AToryNoMore said...

Floyd said...
6:05 PM

AToryNoMore says:

I just don't think so sport!

How many chances does the new government get?

Crunch and break the income trust position and upset taxpaying folks.

Promise two elections ago to get rid of the capital gains on the sale of cottages.

Promise to get rid of the long gun registry and not follow through but give gun amnesty to the persons the government doesn't know, never met and has no idea to whom they gave the amnesty to.

Oh yeah! Did I mention they are the tough on crime party?

As far as he military goes that is a laugh and a conservative myth. For example the conservatives just bought some needed used Chinook helicopters sight unseen from the US. We need them, because they are two bladed for high mountain activity, carry twenty troops and cargo. Unfortunately it was the Mulroney Conservatives that sold our Chinooks to the Netherlands in 1991.

You know what the biggest thing is? The ability to anticipate.
Conservatives just don't have it anymore.

Emisar said...

Really? You're going to attack Conservatives on military helicopters? While Iggy was out of the country when Chretien summarily cancelled the EH-101 contract, I'm sure there's a few Liberals around who remember that disaster.

AToryNoMore said...


Two very different helicopters. Two very different applications.

By the way there was no money to buy anthing.

Keep it in perpective.

Fiscal conservatives should appreciate the financial restraint of the Liberals who would not treat a national credit card as an revenue stream.