Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

Ad Boosters

Posted by JJ in Doubletake/Doubletalk, Strategic Planning (Monday February 5, 2007 at 11:25 am)

It’s a wonder that with so much material devoted to discussion of the Conservative ads attacking Stephan Dion, there’s no parallel talk of the CRFA ads. The series of ads by the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association has been airing for weeks now, and each one prominently refers to Prime Minister Harper’s pledge to raise the ethanol content of Canadian gasoline.

Sure enough, there was some discussion of these ads weeks ago, mostly about the arcane regulations the Television Bureau of Canada sought to impose on them; but the fact that these are designed, in part, to hold Mr. Harper to his pledge, misses one important point: if you actually watch the ads, they look like pro-Tory material.

Why? They don’t explicitly suggest that Harper hasn’t upheld what was an election promise; neither do they make it as clear as they could that it was an election promise. A casual observer would likely conclude that it is part of the new “green agenda” the Conservatives have adopted. That’s free advertising; and great advertising, to boot.

Which is why it’s so important to consider those ads together with the attack ads. Let any discussion of timing attacks and their efficacy aside, and you’re left with the simple fact that both sets of ads are running at the same time. Under those circumstances, it doesn’t look like the Conservatives are entirely negative, even though they’re not responsible for one of the campaigns.

And that helps to explain why the ads attacking Dion might just boost their fortunes without much downside.

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