Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Liberal response ... I hope there's more

As you've probably seen, the Liberals have released a YouTube video where leader Michael Ignatieff responds to the Conservative attack ads:

And here's a little media coverage on the strategy:

Unlike the pricey, televised Tory ads that began running last week, Ignatieff's simple, low-cost video was posted on the party's website and sent to multicultural media outlets. The Liberal party is not paying to air the video.

Ignatieff spokeswoman Jill Fairbrother said the party is specifically targeting multicultural media because "we have heard that the attack ads are offensive, particularly to some of Canada's multicultural communities, so we wanted to send a message directly from the leader."

The Conservatives have worked hard to woo new Canadian voters, who have traditionally tended to gravitate more toward the Liberals. Tories have claimed success among some groups, particularly Jewish and Chinese Canadians.

Liberals are hoping the attack ads will help them reclaim some of that lost support.

I like the tone and message of the video. It's about the economy. Reject the smears. Turn it to an attack on new Canadians. And I like the strategy to push this in multicultural communities. I do think the Conservative message has the potential to be quite negatively received in those communities.

But I really hope there is more coming from the LPC then a 1:40 YouTube video. Sure, it will get lots of Web play and links. It will also help to influence and frame the media narrative. Some articles will get written on it.

But it's way too long to get played in full as earned media outside a show like PowerPlay or Politics; most media will just play a snippet. And it will be a snippet of their choice, so who knows how they may frame it.

Really, though, not many Canadians will be reached by this web "response" or by the earned media it will generate. It will have no where near the scope of the impact of the Conservative ads which aired on TV.

That's why I'm hoping this is only the first phase of the Liberal response. Because while I like this response in isolation just fine, it doesn't do all that we need it to do. What we also need is a 30 second spot on paid TV, in targeted demographics. It needn't be on the scale of the Conservative buy. And it shouldn't be the literal "response" to the Con ads this video is.

Rather, the message should focus on the economy. I think an ad saying "we have a plan that would extend EI eligibility to an additional 150,000 Canadians for this economic crisis, but Harper said no and is more interested in attack politics, it's the economy Stephen" would be interesting. Run it in select regions hit hard by layoffs.

That's a response I'd like to see. Hopefully more is coming.

UPDATE: Just one more thought. Why did it take so long to come up with a 1:40 minute YouTube video? These ads were launched quite awhile ago. And as Michael says, we knew they were coming. This is hardly the kind of rapid response we need. In fact, it's rather the opposite.

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1 comment:

Steve V said...

"What we also need is a 30 second spot on paid TV, in targeted demographics. It needn't be on the scale of the Conservative buy."

I hope we remember that two or three times during the Dion era, the Conservatives made a big fuss about their latest ads, only to let the media run with it and NEVER actually put them on television. What that means, you can do a limited ad buy, and still get a really good return for the expenditure. If you run ads here and there, then it's a real MSM response and while you don't compete ad time for ad time, you get your message out. As I said to someone else, I didn't donate last week to have it sit in the bank :)