When it’s attacking the attack ads? That’s the theory behind the Green Party of Canada’s new TV spot, complete with uber-serious announcer and a soundtrack fit for a zombie-teen-chainsaw-slasher flick. “Are you disgusted? This is not OUR Canada! It’s time to send a message – to ‘change the channel’ on attack politics!”
It starts well enough, and the Americanization of our political culture is indeed an issue that rankles. But is it enough to get me to vote Green?
Well, without a worthwhile counterpoint, I don’t think so. What is the Green Party solution? Where is their light at the end of the tunnel? And for God’s sake, in a connected world, WHERE IS THE SIMPLE URL AT THE END THAT WILL LET ME FIND OUT MORE?? Buried on a busy screen of text for 3 seconds is the greenparty.ca web address. Arriving at that general homepage, there is a link to the video and a plea to share it. Is this the Green Party platform? Getting us to share our displeasure with our friends? That’s fine, as far as it goes. But not nearly enough to swing my vote.
The Green Briefs Two Bits: Okay, let’s say the attack ad is the issue to start with. The music, voice and message off the top grab me. Now it’s time to move it into more serious territory. Lose the ‘change the channel’ line. It’s a pun that uses up valuable airtime. Take the last third of the ad and make a pledge: “The Green Party would outlaw the fast & loose campaign spending of the Harper Government and their attack campaign. Find out more at noattacks.ca” Yes, you say, but this blends the issue of attack ads with the issue of the in & out campaign funding! So what? If we’re running an attack ad we might as well use all the tricks in the CPC playbook. And it would give me the feeling that the Green Party has a plan beyond simply being peeved Canadians.
I bear no grudge against the Greens. I have even done work for my local candidate. But the party will have to be more strategic if it wants to grab some seats. (Staying out of ridings where they are likely to split the vote and hand it to Harper would be a start – but don’t get me started)
So is this an attack ad? Or simply a parody designed to capitalize on the dissatisfaction of the 142 Canadian voters intelligent enough to understand the concept of parody? Unfortunately, I don’t think it really matters.
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