Trudeau Liberals launch new advertising campaign to counter Tory attack ads

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

The Liberal Party has made good on a promise to swiftly respond to Conservative party attack ads against their newly minted leader Justin Trudeau.

On Wednesday — just 10 days after the Tories released a series of "Justin over his head" commercials — the Liberals have answered in kind. The Liberal ads, however, are different from the Tory's in two distinct ways: they're not really negative and they actually feature their leader.

Interestingly, the ad en Francais, is a little different:

According to the Liberal Party, the ads will run online as well as on television.

[ Related: Are political attack ads the same as bullying? ]

Jeff Jedras, a Liberal activist from Toronto says he's pleased that his party is responding to the Tory attacks.

"Just the fact we are responding is important to many Liberals, particularly to those who have donated in recent years to the Strong Start Fund, so the party would be able to respond in just this eventuality," Jedras, who served as leadership candidate Deborah Coyne's campaign manager, told Yahoo! Canada News in an email exchange.

"I think the ads will be effective. By directly pivoting off the negative Conservative attack ads, the contrast in tone in style and in leadership between Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau couldn't be clearer. And while Harper lets sarcastic voice over man deliver his message for him, Trudeau delivers his message personally to Canadians. The ad delivers a positive message to Canadians, while highlighting just how absurd the Conservative attacks have become. I think that contrast will connect with Canadians, and so will Trudeau."

Gerry Nicholls, a right leaning political consultant and analyst, says that contrasting Trudeau's 'new politics' with the attack style of the Tories is the correct approach, but wonders if the Liberals went a bit "overboard."

"Trudeau, known for his charisma, actually comes across as a bit dull here. In fact, the Justin Trudeau in the Tory ad was more interesting than the Justin Trudeau in the Liberal ad," Nicholls told Yahoo!.

"Plus Trudeau’s talk is a little uninspired, it sounds like somebody just randomly assembled political clichés. And putting Trudeau in a classroom setting is an interesting choice. The Tories are attacking him for only being a teacher, but the Liberals are playing that as a strength. Somebody’s market research is wrong."

Nicholls also claims that the Liberal ad — like the Conservative ad — is designed to appease the party faithful rather than to affect the hearts and minds of Canadian voters.

"The basic message of this ad really is: 'Don’t worry Liberals, we won’t let Harper attacks go unanswered,'" he says.

[ Related: Tories angry at Liberal senator’s now-deleted tweet about Via Rail terrorism plot ]

The Tory attack ads surprised no one and included pictures of Trudeau doing a strip tease and a much older clip of him saying that "Quebecers are better than the rest of Canada."

Despite some early public backlash, the Conservative Party says that they have been successful.

"These ads have spread farther and faster than any ads we've ever done. We are communicating directly with Canadians rather than passing through the media's filter," Jenni Byrne, the Conservative Party's director of political operations, wrote in an email to supporters last week.

"In two days, our ads were viewed more than 270,000 times on YouTube — more views than we have ever received on any video before — including during an election cycle."

To date, the Tory ads have over 385,000 views on YouTube.

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