Thursday, January 29, 2009

Define, or be defined. Where are our ads?

I'm not overly concerned or impressed with the NDP's anti-Ignatieff ads (apparently in development while we were still BFFs, but watev). Then again, I didn't pay much heed to the anti-Dion Not a Leader ads for awhile either, so I'm clearly no ad expert.

Anyway, irregardless of the effectivness or not of the NDP strategy, it does raise one important question for me, as a Liberal. Where are our ads?

I don't mean attack ads. Not sure just where we'd fire our guns at the moment anyway. No, I mean ads introducing Michael Ignatieff to Canada. The NDP move today should, if nothing else, serve as a wake-up call for LPC and OLO: it's time to start defining Michael, or the NDP (and soon the Conservatives, worry you not) will define him for us.

It's time to get some ads out there. We can find the money (and build a little fundraising campaign around getting them aired), and it's money we can't afford not to spend. Michael (and Dominic) both agreed at the LPCO townhall that not responding to the Not A Leader ads was a major mistake they won't repeat. So let's not.

It needn't be a huge buy. Target it to key demos. And earned media will amplify it. But let's get some radio spots out quick. Pull some video from Ignatieff's town halls talking about the Liberal vision from Canada, slap a logo on it, and get it out. What does Kinsella call it, the Hell Of A Guy (HOAG) effect? That's what we need to do with these adds. Ignatieff likes beer and curling, just like you, etc.

We can't afford to wait on this. We need to get these ads out now. Let's not make the same mistakes again.

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Steve V said...


On ads, right at this moment, I would argue Ignatieff is getting tons of free media. The past few weeks, Ignatieff has enjoyed rare air for an opposition leader, so I'm okay with no ads, at this moment. As things calm down now, and complete general disinterest returns, that might be the time to run some ads. One thing today, and we see this with the NDP ads, all you have to do is announce you are running ads, and the media will give you attention (I believe once the Cons announced ads, the media covered it, and they actually never ended up running them anywhere). My point, the cost could really be NOTHING in the end.

Zorpheous said...

I think Steve V is right here, maybe make a low budget You-Tuber and let the news media supply the air time.

I think the real important Ads should be aired about the time the first Economic report card is due, to remind Canadians to hold Harper Accountable and that it was Iggy who will grading Harper on his homework.

WesternGrit said...

Good thread: story, responses, etc. All good.

Let's start including the Victory Fund link WITHIN our blog posts (as I try to do). Don't let people read your blog without having to read those words (it's the Obama email technique - fund-raising requests within the body of the email text).

I'm posting RIGHT AWAY to appeal to Liberals to give to counter the NDP attack ads. Facebook group exists. I'll post link.

Mike514 said...

make a low budget You-Tuber

Why would the Liberals want to remind the public of Dion and his disastrous YouTube quality video? That's the first thing I would think of if Ignatieff appeared on TV in an awkwardly framed ad, with pink face.

Mike514 said...

To comment on Zorpheus' second paragraph:

Ads should be aired about the time the first Economic report card is due, to remind Canadians to hold Harper Accountable and that it was Iggy who will grading Harper

Am I mistaken, or will the report cards be votes of confidence? If so: Unless the Liberals are planning to vote against the first report card, it's difficult to say the Tories are being held accountable if the Liberals just vote for the report cards. "We're holding them accountable by approving their budget, and their report cards too!" Kind of plays with Layton's theme of Harper + Iggy.

Barcs said...

I think you are right on Jeff.

We saw it with Harper at the start, with Dion, with Stockwell Day, Preston Manning, and to some extent Paul Martin who was well defined as a finance minister, but lost that definition as he moved to PM and he didn't try build a Prime ministerial identity.

In all cases the opposing force was able to define these opponents. And it worked reasonably well in some cases and very well in others.

If Iggy can not get the media face time and advertising face time he will likely face the same fate.

Today with the NDP ad, On western talk radio he has picked up somewhat of a superior smug condescending reputation, and Today on Adler online Charles defined him as the abandoner.... Someone who does nothing without seeing the personal benefit (a political catchall to be sure for any opponent). And recently (some) of the media has tried to portray him as Canada's Obama. A label he can only fall short of given the over hyped image of the man that even obama will have problems living up to.

Whether any of that is true or not. Any of the labels. They are out there. They are the first real impression people have of Iggy. And unless he can get the advertising and the coverage out there, it will be well ingrained by the time we go to the campaign hustings again. And a short campaign is too short to redefine something that is ingrained.

uranowski said...

I think ignoring the NDP is not just fun it is necessary for the Liberals to frame this as a two way contest.

Ignatieff/the Liberals both have good youtube channels and are getting the message out.

I agree that Ignatieff is getting a lot of free media and I think he is shrewd in his approach. Ignatieff/the shadow cabinet need to keep doing what they are doing: Asking sharp questions in question period. They can add to this by going on tv which gets the networks to play footage of them.

Save the money for the election.

Frankly Canadian said...

I agree with Jeff here, I believe we should have some kind of media message to the public portraying Michael Ignatieff as "the cool hand Luke who just wants parliament to function properly" or "the Cool Canadian who gets it". Regardless of the advertisement, I think we should work on defining Mr. Ignatieff as a solid CANADIAN leader who really does understand what Canadians want and need. In order to define our leader before anyone else puts their definitions on him, hinges on finances and as Western Grit states the key to being able to undertake such endeavours in through fundraising.

Woman at Mile 0 said...

Considering Ignatieff could have been PM by next month if he had voted against the budget.... the "only does for his own personal benefit might not wash" here. Life is short. He could be dead of a heart attack, some horrible cancer and never be PM now if he has to wait 4 years to get Harper out. That's life, it throws curves. Ya take your chances.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Steve, we are getting free media from the budget stuff right now. I don't think it will register on a deep level. The general impression with those that don't pay too much attention will be "good, didn't want an election" and they'll go back to work.

I don't suggest we run ads to counter the NDP ads. They're a minor annoyance. It's not about response, it's about defining Michael with the public. Setting the HOAG mindset with the public. Getting the public comfortable with Michael and the Liberal choice, so that, when we're ready, instead of just knocking lose Conservative (or NDP) supporters, which we were successful doing under Stephane, we can take that next step we weren't as successful at, that's converting them into Liberal supporters.

zorph, I disagree. I think issue ads come later. First we get people comfortable with choosing us, then we give them the reason why.

wg, personal choice, I have the link on the sidebar but I'd rather not have it on each post.

mike, it's funny. Dion did a lot of YouTube and FaceBook videos with a lot better production value then that TV piece. There were other issues involved there, but moving on.

and on the report cards, it absolutely is accountability. You say you'll do these things? OK, report on your progress and tell us how you did. If you did well, you can stay out late Friday night. Got an F? Detention. Seems like accountability to me. Now, if the report card sucks and we vote for them anyway, well then that would be pretty dumb and not accountability at all.

barcs, Liberals will never win adler and western talk radio. But we do need to be out there on the battlefield at least.

uranowski, free media is absolutely an important part of the equation, but the fact is most people don't way a great deal of attention to the ins-and-outs of QP. And I think we saw with Stephane, waiting until a campaign to try to define the leader is too late. We need to get some ads out there now to sow some seeds with the wider public. And as for money, need to spend it to make it. I think a more visibly active LPC will generate more donations.

penlan said...

Jeff said:

"The general impression with those that don't pay too much attention will be "good, didn't want an election" and they'll go back to work."

IF they have work to go back too. It's bad out there & getting worse.

The Jurist said...

Jeff: The big question is, who is "we"? Last I checked the Libs still had an official leadership contest set for May - and while they might be able to get away with using party resources promoting Iggy before then if nobody else registers by the deadline, surely any other contenders will have reason to scream bloody murder if party money is spent building up Ignatieff's HOAG factor to their detriment.

Barcs said...

Mile 0... the problem is that is far from a given. What happens if the GG sends us to an election instead of signing up the coalition?... and we end up with the same parliament as we have now. Which is entirely possible.

Think he will survive to see a second election in a situation like that? 60-40.

The risk today is far to great compared to the reward.

And Iggy, as I said. Is nothing if not pragmatic. He and Harper will make formidable opponents.

Jeff didn't mean to suggest that you should try to compete direct with western talk radio. I was just trying to illustrate that while the NDP just started running ads, that Iggy is being defined every day by a number of sources everyday.

And yes, you need to be on that battlefield. So far I have heard a lot of sniping at Harper and Iggy just getting annoyed when people ask what he would do differently. (I do understand not wanting to give ideas away, but people do have to see that you are capable... its a interesting balance). While trying to define Harper is important it doesn't help you define your own leader at all. And it doesn't protect your leader from being defined.

Penlan, you sound like the son in the old man and the hotdog. Lighten up your mood some... it will make you much happier.

penlan said...


You know not what you speak of in relation to me. You don't know me & the extremely dire situation I'm in at the moment. Best leave personal comments to yourself.

Barcs said...

Apologies for your "situation".... But your reply only stresses my point:

A little optimism goes a long way to improving things, while a pessimistic view often makes them worse.

You can take the comment as aimed directly at you if you want; really it is aimed at everyone who like you is spreading doom and gloom rather than working and doing their best to improve their situation and that of their neighbors.

WesternGrit said...

Hey Jurist... I believe the registration deadline for leader has passed (back in January). Also, we've also reached (or shortly - start of Feb - reach) the membership cut off...

Barring a massive "write-in", this one's done. No-one would want to step in at this time anyway - organizational costs aside, it appears that things are going smoothly, and in good hands. Caucus is being consulted, and is very "on-side"...

The Jurist said...

WG: Fair enough if the deadline has passed.

But I'm not sure which one would have been missed. While I'd heard about the membership deadline which would obviously give Iggy a huge advantage, the bylaws related to the leadership race don't seem to set any candidate deadlines until "62 days before the day of Leadership Vote" - which would be roughly a month from now.

penlan said...


You must be living very comfortably. To those of us who aren't, who are way below even a so-called "normal" poverty at this time you sound ludictous. I had hopes. They are now dashed as well as are many other "physical" things in my life. And I'm speaking of needs. Not wants.

penlan said...

That should be "ludicrous" not

Barcs said...

heh poverty....

There is almost no real poverty.

"Poverty" as it is is a defined relativistic line. To raise 1/2 the people below it above it is only to redraw the line slightly higher and place different people below it.

Today even those in "poverty" struggling with what you call needs vs wants have shelter and TV, and running water (and clean water too), conveniences, transportation options etc etc THAT ROYALTY COULD ONLY DREAM ABOUT ONLY A CENTURY AGO!!!!....

and given that.... I have no use for you poor me attitude.

penlan said...


I do not have a "poor me" attitude. I just live with my reality. I happen to be physically disabled & am also what is considered a senior citizen. I'm also apt. bound all winter & cannot get out at all. Been around a long time, seen a lot, lived a lot & been an activist in the past - helping those in need. So know what I'm talking about.

You, on the other hand, are showing your so-called
"superior" attitude. Often happens with those who consider themselves, or are perceived to be, "elitists".

A BCer in Toronto said...

Barcs and penlan,

I think your back and forth has morphed into a personal argument unrelated to the topic of this post. If you wish to continue your conversation I'd respectfully invite the two of you to do so elsewhere, as I won't be approving any further offtopic personal comments in this thread.

Barcs said...

Ummmm... I think I should offer you my apologies Jeff. You are right such a personal argument is out of place on someone elses blog.

(I know you said no more posts and you don't need to approve it, but I figgered I should send it as an apology to you anyways.)