Liberal ads attempt to change the channel on Conservative tactics

Julian Wolfe
April 24th, 2013

One week after the Conservatives launched a major “he’s in over his head” campaign to congratulate Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, the Liberals have released their first ads to counter. The ads are in English and French and both center around the message of change and hard work. While the ads change the channel on messaging techniques, could they have been improved?

The English ad puts Trudeau in the classroom dismissing the Conservative ad against him by turning off the TV. He then goes on to take pride in being a teacher and says he will work hard to win over Canadians’ trust.

The French ad brings in a different image, in fact, arguably aspects of the French ad should have been in the English one as well. While the French ad speaks more of values than service like the English ad, it had two things the English ad didn’t. First, it had images of Trudeau’s achievements, which could have overlayed his English message of service just as well as it did the French message of values and change. However while the photo overlay would have been a nice feat, the ending of the French ad speaks more to branding and should be everywhere.

The ending of the French ad, at 28 seconds in, is a montage of pictures with a consistent music theme that all come together to write the word Justin. Each of these pictures are of Trudeau with Canadians and if placed on all ads would go a long way to marketing his brand.

While Trudeau’s response was classy and positive, it could have been more standardized in that some kind of branding was introduced. While there is no doubt that his name and his party are well known and well branded, it is the small and consistent and obvious details of an ad that will go a long way to getting a message or idea to stick in your head. This is mainly the reason why past Conservative attack ads were so successful.

As far as strategy is concerned, when a Republican strategist who worked with Harper long before his mandate was asked on CTV’s Question Period how to deal with strategies. He said Harper’s ads would backfire if they were untruthful and Trudeau’s response should start by being positive and should also work on addressing important issues like the economy, taxes and trade.

Up to date, Harper’s ads have fueled Liberal fundraising efforts and these ads prove to be a refreshing change of channel when it comes to political messaging in this country.

For those that haven’t seen the Conservative ads, they feature clips of Justin Trudeau at a charity event – HuffingtonPost said the Conservatives had no permission to use their footage – along with carnival music and footage from a CTV interview where Trudeau mimicked Quebec separatists to make a point in his argument. With this and many other controversies, it is safe to say Harper branded himself with those ads and thus is himself way over his head.

What do you think of Trudeau’s ads? Will they be effective? Is there anything you would have done differently?

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