Every effective political ad campaign has two sides. While parties usually try convincing voters why they should vote for them and their leader, they also need to tell why they should refrain from voting for their opponents. The key to a successful negative campaign lies in using evidence to build on pre-conceived notions that the masses already have about a party or a candidate.
While we have already covered American politicians who successfully took down their opponents, it’s time we moved up north to focus on their Canadian counterparts. So, here are 5 negative Canadian political campaigns that destroyed their opponents.
1. The Truth: Liberal Party
Stephen Harper was unknown to many candidates in the 2004 election campaign. This ad by the Liberal party highlighted the different approaches that Harper had adopted on many hot issues like the Iraq war, gun control, and climate change.
The ad greatly influenced voters who were clearly unimpressed by Harper’s rather soft take on many issues and helped the Liberals form a minority government despite being weighed down by the Sponsorship Affair.
2. Just Visiting: Conservative Party
The Liberals made Michael Ignatieff their leader shortly after the 2008 election. The Conservative Party wasted no time in dishing out a series of ads to define him, just as they did with his predecessor Stéphane Dion.
The election resulted in one of the greatest defeats for the Liberals as they got elected in only 34 seats, thereby, giving Harper his first majority.
3. Hamster: New Democratic Party
Election commercials don’t always have to involve a lot of rhetoric to bring down your opponent. The same can instead be achieved by well-thought-out imagery like this commercial.
During the 2011 campaign, the New Democratic Party (NDP) was trying to convince Quebecers that the situation in Ottawa was not improving much. In fact, it had stopped moving altogether. Therefore, this ad that featured a hamster on a wheel became the perfect metaphor for this situation, thereby helping the NDP deliver a strong anti-Bloc Québécois pitch.
4. Stephen, do I look scared to you?: Liberal Party
What do you do if your opponent is trying hard to distort your policy, especially when it’s related to a critical voting demographic? Well, you come up with something like this.
After the Conservatives tried hard in 2015 to convey to the masses that the Liberals would eliminate favorable tax treatment for senior couples, the latter destroyed the Conservatives’ narrative in some sheer style. They brought onboard the well-respected nonagenarian former Mississauga mayor, Hazel McCallion to star in their commercial, sho not just defended the Liberals but also tore into the Conservatives’ narrative.
5. The Border: Liberal Party
The 1988 Canadian general election soon translated into a referendum on the Free trade Agreement that the Mulroney government had negotiated with the U.S. The Liberal wasted little time in capitalizing on the fear of Canadians losing their sovereignty to the U.S. with this memorable commercial.
The ad shows the border being erased, quite literally! Although the Progressive Conservatives emerged victorious after the election, the Liberals certainly succeeded in doubling up their seat count in Parliament.
And that was a wrap of the 5 most successful negative political commercials. It’s clear that election campaigns in the U.S and Canada are somewhat similar, the only different thing is the candidates contesting in those elections. You can take a leaf out of their books if you ever want to come up with anything similar.
We’ll soon be back with more commercials for you. Till then, stay tuned.