Saturday, April 20, 2013

Justin Trudeau and Negative Advertizing

When Pierre Trudeau died Canadians waited in their 10s of thousands, for 3 to 4 hours at a time, for their chance to pay their respects during his time of lying in state.  I was one of them.  I decided to wait until closer to the end of the week thinking that the crowds would have thinned by then but I was wrong.  I still waited over three hours for my opportunity to stand for a few seconds before his flag draped coffin and pay my respects.

I mention this as it demonstrates that the Trudeau name is respected and to a certain extent revered, particularly amongst the 45+ set, who happen to be the one demographic that still votes regularly. 

With this in mind and the fact Justin Trudeau seems to be quite popular amongst the under 30 crowd I do not believe that the Conservatives negative ad campaign will have much of an impact in the short to medium term.  Most of those over 45 will probably give him the benefit of the doubt because of his name and those under 30 who already support him will not change their minds because of two or three Conservative ads. 

What Liberals have to worry about with regard to these ads is they could set up an "I told you so" moment in the future if Mr. Trudeau stumbles badly and/or often going forward. 

As well, Liberals are dreaming if they expect that these ads will cause a backlash against the Conservatives.  This is the Conservative MO.  Canadians are probably not going to react with a wave of revulsion or anger because they have seen it all before.  Instead we will probably see a collective shrug from Canadians.

Not that Conservatives can take too much solace from that.  It is inevitable that Canadians will turn on the Conservatives at some point.  It happens to every government and they will be no different.  When that happens the usual reaction is to "go negative".  Unfortunately, Canadians will be less likely to hear that message because they would have been hearing it since the Conservatives came to power and would dismiss it as more of the same.  Indeed, at some point such advertising could just fuel a "throw the bums out" sentiment as it reminds Canadians of one of the reasons they finally turned on the Conservatives.

If Justin Trudeau can keep his feet under him in the coming months these ads will be forgotten.  If not then the true impact of them will be felt long after they have gone off the air.

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