Second Thots

Sometimes one has to step back, take pause, and have some "second thots"

Monday, January 29, 2007


Lingering impressions in the minds of Canadians

The three ads are now posted on the Tory Web site.

They're intention is not to throw a whole lot of facts and policy at people. There's only so much you can do with a 30-second spot. Instead, the ads are clearly meant to instill in Canadians an image of Stéphane Dion that they have yet to see through the media. The Stéphane Dion the Tories want you to see is someone:

a) Who was as an integral part of a recent Liberal past that they have not yet learned from and that we would get back to if he were to somehow gain power again. "Liberals: We need to get back to power as soon as possible!"

b) Whose actual record on the environment is something the media seems to want to forget as they appear so eager to keep labelling him as some kind of champion of the planet. "We didn't get it done."

c) Who's not up to the job. This is the message that differs somewhat from the others in that it draws a conclusion on Dion's readiness to be prime minister if an election were called soon. It asks Canadians to ask themselves if this is really someone you think can lead a country, and to keep asking themselves as they watch events unfold in the coming weeks and months. "That's unfair. Do you think it's easy to set priorities?"

In three 30-second ads the Tories want you to see a side of Liberal leader Stéphane Dion that the media has yet to focus on. More importantly, they're designed to have that impression of him linger as events and media coverage unfold in the short-term and long-term.

Do they work? Probably. They form the foundation of the message Tories want to get across about Dion and the Liberals as we head into a possible election this year. Each time a question is raised about the environment, about the Liberal party, about leadership, the Tories can come back to a talking point formed in one of these ads and remind Canadians of the message they have in this regard.

Negative ads backfire if they're over-the-top. These aren't. They tell you what Tories want you to know about Dion in a way that might mock him, but that doesn't do so gratuitously or unfairly. It's a side of Dion that even Dion doesn't want to see for himself. Heck, even Liberals don't want to see it, which is why they've already attacked Conservatives for creating these ands and refuse to deal with their substance.

Let the games begin.

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