The Conservatives have come out with two new ads; one I like a lot, the other less so.
Let's start with the ad I think works very well:
This ad works because, unlike other Tory attack ads, it sticks to issues and doesn't go after Michael Ignatieff's character.
Plus, rather than taking on a bunch of issues it focuses on one main idea: Ignatieff wants to raise taxes. It then reinforces the message with a few strong examples in a visually interesting way.
It also helps advance the Tory narrative about the Liberals wanting to force an unwanted election.
This is the kind of ad that will both motivate the Conservative base and drive down the Liberal numbers with casual voters.
Score: 8 out of 10.
The next ad is more positive and less effective.
You get the feeling the Tories just put this together to offset criticism about all their negative stuff.
Anyway, this ad is pure saccharine hokiness. Kind of stuff that makes jaded, cynical observers (aka me) want to puke.
That's not to say hokey can't work in politics, it certainly can work, but not in this particular ad.
The biggest problem with the spot is its narrator: Prime Minister Harper.
After all, let's face it, Harper is a competent leader and a smart tactician, but a great communicator, he aint.
Harper just can't connect with voters on an emotional level; he doesn't inspire people. In short, he is no Ronald Regan.
So why play to your weakness? Why have Harper narrate the ad? Why not go with a professional announcer?
Plus as the narrator Harper can't brag about himself! This makes the ad somewhat flat.
And finally, there is just too much feel good pontificating before you get to the actual gist of the ad: Things are OK don't mess things up.
The message, in short, gets lost in the all the feel-good flag waving.
Score: 5 out of 10.