Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Never Thought I'd See Such a Stupid Ad

There is always a temptation when running a political attack ad, to get cute. Sometimes this works, but all too often an ad that supposed to be clever turns out to be really, really stupid.

For an example of a really, really stupid ad, check out this video found on, an anonymous website, that was most likely produced by the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.

Anyway, this ad is wrong on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin.

First off, the ad's edgy routine will backfire. What I mean is the profanity and off-colour language, used by the actors portraying an ever so hip and ever so diverse and ever so obnoxious group of young people is so offensive it will turn off  viewers.

Indeed, I suspect anyone who was on the fence before seeing this video will decide to vote Wildrose after seeing it. Also, I suspect many voters who were going to support the PCs before seeing this ad, will change their minds after seeing it and vote Wildrose.

The thought process will go like this: “Any political party these brain dead idiots are against, I am for!”  

Now call me crazy, but I believe airing an ad that actually drives people away from your party, is bad strategy.

And yes, I know the producers of the spot are hoping this will be offset by legions of young chic, urban Albertans who, wishing to emulate the actors in the video, will “vote strategically” to deny the Wildrose a victory.

But there are a couple of problems with this strategy. First, the demographic this ad is targeting --- mainly those people who spend most of their free time playing Xboxes – don’t exactly vote in massive numbers.

Secondly, and more importantly, despite what some media-types and political junkies like to believe, strategic voting doesn’t happen.

Most regular people going into a voting booth don’t think “I don’t like Party A, so I will vote for Party B even though I really like Party C.” Instead, they vote for Party C.

And here's problem with the ad: It contains blatant and absurd falsehoods. During the video actors say Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith “believes the Flintsones are real” and that she “doesn’t believe in gravity.”

Of course, these are lies.

OK I know this is supposed to be “humour”, but this is meant to be a serious piece of political communication. Simply put, lying is wrong in a political spot, even if it's just a lame joke.

Plus the ad isn't even logically consistent. It says to vote strategically, but as my friend Peter Jaworski pointed out on his Facebook page, the spot ends with an actor saying "vote for people who you think are good, man." So which is it? Vote strategically or vote for the guy who is good? You can't do both.

I could go on, but let me finish with one more observation.

The PC party is running this ad because they are desperate and panicky. And losing power after 41 years, probably is a frightening thought.

Yet that does not give the PCs the right to mock and ridicule their own supporters, just for the sake of keeping power.

 And make no mistake, this ad is a calculated slap on the face to every small “c” conservative in Alberta.

The PCs are basically calling conservatives rustic, redneck, rubes in the desperate hope this will curry favor with the trendy left.

This goes beyond crass and cynical. It’s nothing short of despicable.

Premier Alison Redford should be ashamed. 

The producer of the ad says it was not an Alberta PC Party production. I am dubious. 


Jaycee said...

In all fairness to Premier Mom, this thing is so terrible that not even she would have signed off on it. Who would ever admit that their only hope is strategic sympathy votes? This was the work of left-wing voters who have either a) never been able to create a viable party of their own or b) are too lazy/underfunded/young/dumb to try it now.

Thermblog said...

I'm pretty sure I heard on TV news this evening that it had not been run by the PCs.

(I had on SUN but CTV also got switched on for a bit and I'm not sure which one said it. As we all know, CTV has a good chance of being inaccurate, even comical sometimes.)