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ANALYSIS: New negative ads from Liberals and an admission it’s a close race – National

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The Liberal Party of Canada unleashed a trio of television commercials Saturday attacking Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives with the trifecta of the often-tried liberal wedge issues: abortion, gun control and two-tier health care.

“Canadians deserve to know where their party leaders stand,” the party said in a press release. “These new ads show Erin O’Toole, in his own words, how he would retake Canada. ”

The ads, all in English, are 30-second spots with the titles “The Record”, “In His Own Words” and “Take Back Canada”.

The Conservatives responded within hours, posting their own 30-second ads, “Justin Says,” and another untitled ad that debuted on Twitter[Liberal] Attack reports intended to create fear and division among Canadians. ”

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The liberal ads, which debuted Thursday just before the crucial debate among English-speaking leaders, are a sure sign that internal liberal polls are showing what the public polls show: Conservatives are ahead and could even win the government. And the conservative answer is an affirmation of the same: in a close race, negative or “contrasting” ads can often make all the difference.

But while the Liberals began to inflict some blows on their chief opponent on Saturday, the Conservatives have been beating the Liberals for some time.

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On Friday, the Conservatives released a new negative spot that played on concerns from many Canadian voters that this election is unnecessary.

Both the conservative and liberal ads that appear this weekend are trying to turn the words of their opponents against them, a tried and tested political marketing tactic that can often be effective.

Political marketing guys prefer to refer to these types of ads as “contrast ads”. The idea is that the ads try to show the voters a contrast between their candidate and the opponent.

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The NDP, for example, published a trio of French-language ads more than a week ago that are classic examples of the “contrast advertising” genre, as they feature NDP leader Jagmeet Singh describing the differences between in 15-second blocks his party’s approach to a particular issue, such as climate change, and his opponent’s approach.

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But the ads published this weekend by the Liberals and Conservatives are one step closer to real “negative” or “offensive” ads as they try to provoke disgust or anger at their opponent. Both use editing techniques that are often as important to what they leave out as what they include, and both feature dramatic music under the ad that enhances the emotional impact the advertiser is trying to create.

The Liberals’ attack ads posted this weekend are also much tougher and tougher than a couple of Facebook ads the party ran against Andrew Scheer in 2019, or the only negative ad the Liberals ran against Stephen Harper in 2015.

However, attack reports can sometimes backfire, especially if a voter finds them unfair or excessive.

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In 1993, for example, then-Liberal leader Jean Chretien benefited from the great sympathy of voters who thought Kim Campbell’s Progressive Conservatives were wrongly ridiculing the way Chretien speaks about his Bell palsy.

Then, in 2006, the Paul Martin Liberals withdrew an exaggerated charge of aggression against Conservative Stephen Harper, who warned the ad would allow “Soldiers in Our Streets” – an ad that many uniformed Canadians and those who support uniformed Canadians , found offensive. The Liberals withdrew this ad almost immediately when it debuted.

But another ad on the same series suggesting that a Harper government would take action to restrict abortion services was actually effective.

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Both liberal and conservative supporters would say after the campaign that they could see a decline in Harper’s support among women and a simultaneous increase in women’s support for Martin as a result of this ad. Some of those involved in that 2006 campaign said a negative ad may actually have been responsible for preventing Harper from winning a majority in the 2006 election.

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The Trudeau Liberals of 2021 will almost certainly hope the same with the recent attack reports two weeks before election day. Liberals need to curb the conservative momentum in the polls and hope O’Toole is hot on the heels of the debates this week.

David Akin is the chief political correspondent for Global News.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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