Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/9/2008 (2825 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
As I was jamming a peanut butter sandwhich down the old cake hole this morning, saw the second wave of Conservative election ads
. It's still the warm and fuzzy Prime Minister Stephen Harper
motif, all cardigans and vaseline all over the lens. The tag line for the ad was the thing that really caught my attention:"We're better off with Harper."I understand the need to play the leadership card, especially when your party has the leader that more people want to lead. But I found the ads, and the tag line, clumsy and obvious. In fact, it's hard to get away from a feeling that the motto is telling me, "things are pretty bad and while you may not trust me, you're better off voting for me than the other guy." Somehow, it just doesn't sound like a call to arms.How about "Harper: strong leadership when we need it the most." Or, "Harper: Vision, Strength, Courage." Tell us why we should vote for Harper, not that he's the best of a bad lot.Effective advertising not only drives home its point, but does it in a way that doesn't make the customer feel as if they are being buried in rhetoric. There is a lot of hokey symbolism in these ads and it seems a bit of a stretch that people who fear Harper for his inflexibility and social conservative views will be numbed by the warm and fuzzy.It wasn't so long ago that Harper was the leader who was playing catch up to his competitors on the leadership issue. However, since overcoming that hurdle, the Tories have been masterful in forging an image of Harper as the iron-fisted, iron-willed commander and chief. And based on poll results, the Tories have created an image that appeals to more Canadians than any other leader. National polls are showing Liberal Leader Stephane Dion
running third in some areas of the country.However, I think it's pretty obvious that Harper is not as popular a leader nationally as, say, Premier Gary Doer
is in Manitoba. Doer's personal popularity does carry his team. I'm not convinced yet that Harper's personal appeal is enough to drag the Tories to a majority. More people have warmed to Harper's image, but he remains a politician that polarizes the electorate.What is clear, however, is that the Conservative Party is going to hop on Harper's coat tails for this one. It will be fascinating to see if he can carry them over the finish line.This is going to be a great election.-30-