Predictably the Liberals are responding to the recent spate of Conservative negative ads with their own attack ads.
Oops, sorry, according to Liberal partisans the ads are not "attack" ads, but actually "contrast" ads because they focus on issues. (When I was working in the US we called our negative spots "comparative" ads.)
But euphemisms aside, how do these two new Liberal negative ads rate.
Here's my review:
First off, both ads have poor production values. Perhaps this an indication of the Liberal Party's financial weakness, or maybe it's just a Canadian thing. The Tory ads were no great shakes in that regard either.
On the positive side both Liberal spots have concise, tight and focussed messages. When you only have 30 seconds that's important. The visuals in both spots were not great, but OK.
Of the two ads I like this one better:
Obviously, this ad is playing the populist card, a ploy that will likely resonate with a certain audience. It's what I like to call the "Us vs. Them" tactic. Harper stands for big corporations (Them), the Liberals stand for "Us". It's hokey, but it can work. And the ad has some emotional punch. Score: 7 out of 10.
This ad on the other hand, hits the wrong chord.
Again, tight script and cute visuals but strategically this is the wrong Liberal message. Going after the Tories on the jet fighter issue is playing to Prime Minister Harper's strength: defence and security. If I am Harper I am happy to fight the Liberals over the question of who is better able to defend Canada. For most Canadians the default answer to that question is the Conservatives. That's why the Liberals are better to stick to issues where they have the home field advantage: health care, the environment, social issues. Score: 6 out of 10.
Interestingly, both ads attack Harper from the Left. This suggests the real purpose of the ads is not to win over new voters, but to mobilize the Liberal base. And while the morale of their supporters is important, the Liberals will need more powerful ammunition and better issues if they hope to persuade Canadians that it's time to topple the Conservatives.