Ad Wars 2015 – Part I

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Today both the Conservatives and the New Democrats released brand new ads, and they make a pretty clear statement that the 2015 election campaign is now unofficially underway. The battle lines are drawn here between the governing Conservatives and the upstart NDP: you’re either going to vote for strong, steady leadership, or you’re going to leave behind cynicism and embrace morning in Canada.

The Conservatives came out swinging with not just one, but two new ads. The first shows Prime Minister Stephen Harper hard at work on the matters important to Canadians, and doing so in a way, according to his voice over, that’s free of ideology, partisanship, and the obsession over what’s popular. It’s called “Proven Leadership,” even though it doesn’t really seem to offer specific examples of what that leadership “proves.”

Reversely, the second Conservative ads revisits the familiar theme of the Conservative assertion that Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is unprepared to lead. In addition, the ad offers a charming riff by posing the electorate as a hiring committee looking at the qualifications of Trudeau. How hilarious! The Conservatives invested a lot of time and effort into ads painting Trudeau as woefully unprepared to lead (“He’s in way over his head.”) when he was first elected as Liberal leader and they gained no traction. Will the same argument work this close to an election?

Now, it’s “He’s just not ready,” which I suppose is an improvement versus “He’s in way over his head,” as it at least leaves the door open. Also notice that Tom Mulcair, the actual leader of the opposition, isn’t even mentioned at all in either of those ads. (His interview must have suuuuuuuucked.)

If that second Conservative ad looks familiar, that might be because it was rather wholesale plagiarized from this ad posted by the Manitoba NDP about Progressive Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen in the 2011 provincial election there.

Speaking of the NDP, their new ad is called “Bring Change to Ottawa,” and it features a bright shiny look at a Canada governed by the NDP where everything is a day at the cafe on a bright and sunny afternoon, complete with a smiling and optimistic Thomas Mulcair.

So which vision will be the most effective? We’ll find out in a little less than five months now when Canadians go to the polls.

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