Election time is always fun in the Great White North. Spin masters work overtime to convince the faithful that the Party is on target and heading for a win. (I’ve lived inside a number of provincial and national campaigns.) Reality often plays second violin to hope. (Actually reality probably plays triangle – annoying but ignorable.) Rumour has it that the Conservatives are convinced their TV ads are working. On what do they base this, their polls?
The latest CTV/Globe and Mail poll shows the Conservatives 16 points behind the Liberals in Ontario. The Decima poll has similar results. Unfortunately, Ontario holds the keys to power in this next election. (Quebec is owned in this election by the Bloc.) Lose here and Mr. Harper, who would make a dramatically better PM than Paul Martin, will be a political footnote – a couple of sentences in Wikipedia.
Why the Ads aren’t working
North American TV audiences are some of the most sophisticated media consumers in the world – they know good TV/good Advertising – if only because they consume so much of it. The Conservative ads look like something produced by a local cable company in the last millennium – the fake talk show ad scenario found tried and wanting years ago. To be blunt, the ads are cheesy.
Audiences want real and authentic (or at least what they perceive to be real and authentic.) They want to know the real Stephen Harper. The Globe’s Norman Spector has an interesting story in today’s paper about that Stephen Harper – a man who admires Tony Blair, a man with a self-deprecating sense of humour, an intelligent man with ideas that Canadians need to hear.
Now let me go back to the commercials. First, check out an effective little production company in Austin Texas, Sunpop Studios. They are producing videos that effectively reveal the personalities of people – rather than manufacture “advertising characters.” They even tell you how they do it. These video pieces strip away artifice to reveal the person’s character – in an engaging and compelling manner. (Although I could live with a little less camera movement.)
Now, please produce a series of spots that reveal the real Stephen Harper – an intelligent leader who loves this country and will be a much more effective PM, than quarter billionaire, Paul Martin. But do it quickly. Time is of the essence.
UPDATE: This from the IPSOS Reid Poll:
The poll also showed Canadians offered “rather tepid reviews” of the Tory TV ads about accountability, GST reform, day care and other issues, with 58 per cent saying they had no impact on them and 25 per cent saying the ads made them “less likely” to vote Conservative. Only 15 per cent said the ads would make them “more likely to vote Conservative.” [via]