Monday, September 08, 2008

Liberals Continue Branding Effort in Election

Branding is crucial for the Liberal party

For "Jack Layton and the NDP" (as he and his colleagues are often so eager to put it), "change" is the Obama-esque theme of their election campaign.

But that's territory they're going to have to fight for, as the Liberal party is promising sweeping changes to the country's tax structure that could very well change the country at a fundamental level.

The first Liberal campaign spot, released yesterday, doesn't quite go so far in promising their Green Shift plan as that kind of fundamental change, but certainly implies as much in the subtext.

The ad is, like the opening batch of Conservative spots, an enthusiasm-themed ad. Promising to "make the environment and economy work together" and "make polluters pay", the spot in question plays to a growing impression of Stephane Dion as a man of vision.

How far that vision extends, and whether or not Canadians favour it are different matters entirely.

Regardless, the ad seems to explain why the producers of the infamous Liberal attack ads of 2005/06 was available to go to work on the NDP's advertising -- instead of the stark, somewhat frightening tone of past Liberal ads (particularly those under Paul Martin's leadership reign), this ad speaks to a positive, optimistic space in Canadian politics.

The imagery in the ad is almost exclusively light and cheerful (with the obvious exception of smog-clouded smokestacks when the ad promises to "make polluters pay").

This may also mark the first time in a number of federal campaigns in which the Liberals have declined to go negative first -- this time, allowing the NDP to get their hands dirty first (unless one counts the "not a leader" and "oil splotch" ads released by the Conservatives).

One thing this ad certainly represents is the Liberals getting back to traditional business. Branding has always been an important element of any Liberal campaign, and with the NDP set to largely ignore the Liberals in favour of attacking the Conservatives, the Liberals may not need to stage a counter-branding campaign against the Conservatives at all.

By not moving to counter-brand against the Conservatives first, however, the Liberals have clearly put the ball in the Tories' court. What happens next in terms of campaign advertising will remain very much up to Stephen Harper.

(Unfortuantely, the embeddable player programmed by the Liberal party webmasters and obtained from their website is a little screwed up. Then again, this is the party that waited until 10 minutes before Stephane Dion's University of Alberta speech was scheduled to start to set up their Audio/Visual equipment.

Thanks again, organizational prowess of the Liberal party! -Ed

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