09.10.2014 09:12 AM

If this is all you’ve got, Conservatives, start dusting off those CVs

This is perhaps the shittiest ad they have produced to date, and that’s saying something. We’ll be talking about this on Sun News today, but here’s a quick summary of what’s wrong with it:

  • He doesn’t look Prime Ministerial – no tie, hands in pockets, etc.
  • His “God bless Canada” closer sounds like he was barely awake when he said it – no passion
  • The crowd looks pretty all-white and all-old
  • The cutaway footage they use is about as cliche as you can get…
  • …and there are no people in the B roll – just buildings and a flag

The main problem, however, is this: the key message – “We’re better off with Harper” – is awful.  It sounds a lot like “Stay with the spouse you don’t love anymore, who you don’t want to be with anymore, because it’s probably better than the alternatives. We think.”

If this is all you’ve got, Con boys and girls, you are done like dinner.  You are now officially in a fight for your lives.  You should consider acting like it.



  1. Steven Barry says:

    Without sound, the visuals are very reminiscent of a TV channel’s end-of-broadcast sign off. Which is to your point, I suppose…

    • W the K - No, not Warren says:

      And with the sound on, what’s with that score? It sounds… ominous. Almost as though they’re telling us that, despite all this good news, you should be afraid – very afraid.

      I’m so tired of being sold fear and mythology.

      • !o! says:

        the score is funny right? aside from being very reminiscent of GOP ads, it’s tense, and has a ‘conquest’ chord structure. I think they’re aiming for ‘Harper and the CPC are overcoming the challenges we have been facing’, which resonates with the obvious ‘nobody else is fit to face these challenges’. This only really works if people are happy though and feel they’re actually better off than they were before.

        Their problem is that I don’t think enough people actually feel they’re better off than before, so it all falls apart, and ends up looking like they’re selling fear. This will probably contrast with the more hopeful ads I imagine other parties will be putting out.

  2. mary says:

    What you said. Plus…”Notwithstanding” ???? Is the ad geared to bar association members? I think they lost the lawyers with their SCC attacks.

    • Yukon Cornelius says:

      Not all of us. I’ve never understood why the legal profession (and the public) revere the SCC. They’re human and, frankly, they seem to make it up as they go.

  3. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Their problem is that on an individual level, they have been taught not to think for themselves since 2004. Yes, that type of top-down direction got them results so why would they question that approach now?

    It’s clear that this Prime Minister remains convinced he can win (though he more than likely won’t) so people from the upper echelons on down take their cue from Harper’s verbal and body language. In short, the PM is in denial about their electoral prospects…and so it goes.

  4. Ron says:

    At least there aren’t any puffins. I guess this is their first attempt at a non-attack attack ad.

    Erasing 9 years of bad memories won’t be easy for them, maybe impossible. I’m okay with that.

  5. Bruce A says:

    The Old Flag. The Old Policy. The Old Man.

    John A. is a hipster in comparison.

  6. que sera sera says:

    They appear to have regurgitated aspects of PM David Cameron and Westminster’s fatally inept “Better Together” campaign regarding the Scottish referendum. The BT campaign that has made Cameron & the UK Conservatives the laughingstock of Europe and the Commonwealth.

    Harper being asked his opinion on the Scottish referendum appears to have turned some impressionable, very very young heads and created quite a cacophony in the PMO echo chamber.

    Internationally, domestically, whatever, it appears you still cannot drown an earthworm in the deep end of the Conservative talent pool.

  7. Matt says:

    “The crowd looks pretty all-white and all-old”

    Not unlike the Liberal caucus.

    • michael says:

      Caucus maybe, but certainly not the candidates

      • Matt says:

        Few of the star candidates and hopeful candidates announced:

        Andrew Leslie, older white guy
        Adam Vaughan, older white guy
        Warrens former bandmate who’s name escapes me atm, older white guy
        Christia Freeland, middle aged white lady
        Seamus O’Regan, middle aged white guy

        Even Trudeau, who the media like to refer to as young, is 42. That’s middle aged.

        • Windsurfer says:

          Wow, you’re kind of grasping, brother.

          Even those “old” Liberals look like they have better pulses than some of the Wooden Cons of Worcestershire, former members of the 17th Hussars.

          Just my opinion.

  8. sezme says:

    Also, the music is ominous and foreboding, especially from the 20 second mark. That plus his perfunctory tone, make his words sound hollow.

    This is similar to Hudak’s ad from May but with a creepy old man playing the part of Dear Leader, and the Toronto skyline, the Parliament Buildings, and the Canadian Flag playing the part of the working families.

    Anyway it worked so well for the Ontario PCs…

  9. rww says:

    Vote for the HarperCon ReformaTories because as population increases so does employment.

  10. west coast jim says:

    I thought he was about to say “God Bless America”. Since when have Canadians ended speeches with that Americanism?

    • tf says:

      Yeah, that’s what I thought!
      God bless Canada? He’s really an American wannabe.

      And I think the phrase “better off with Harper” is too close to “better off without him” as many women have chanted after walking out of a bad relationship. Canada will be “better off without him” and we can finally raise our arms in jubilation – Get lost Stevie!

  11. pc says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Harper doesn’t want to be PM anymore? He’s looked tired and bored for at least a year now.

    • MississaugaPeter says:

      The one aspect of the U.S. presidential system that I most admire: Two-term limits that prevent that tired and bored look.

      Unfortunately, they now are getting around that by family dynasties. I would not be surprised that after Clinton, we will get another Bush or Michelle.

  12. MedEditor says:

    What Warren and rww said, plus the edge of the Canadian Flag is shredded, shouldn’t be used (kinda like the CPC’s prospects, I hope).

  13. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Mulroney gave Campbell eight months and she went on to drop from the stratosphere in polls and blew it.

    Were Harper to leave, I think he would want to leave his successor at least a year in lead time. After all, that fortunate person will likely need every living, breathing minute of it.

    • doconnor says:

      If Harper was going to leave he would have done it in the spring or summer of this year. The talk about him leaving has ended and it seems he is going to stick it out.

      That suggests he is almost 10% as stubborn as Rob Ford, which is still too stubborn for his own good.

    • Ron says:

      Campbell was give command of the Titanic after the rats had left. Doomed from the start.

      How about Poilievre this time ?

  14. davie says:

    I have been thinking recently the Conservative campaign is in their bellicose talk in foreign affairs, telling us that the zombie apocalypse I son us and that only a strong and courageous stand up guy can save us (as opposed to those other crumb bums).

  15. debs says:

    god bless, bleck:P
    the jobs jobs jobs mantra is old and unworthy, as how can we trust them. They have made some major stat errors this summer, so the number, the message and the guy are all very untrustworthy.

  16. pc says:

    I agree with your assessment completely. He’s in for 2015, definitely, but I’m not convinced he wants to be.

  17. Ridiculosity says:

    If this is the best Harper can do he’s done. Thankfully.

  18. CM says:

    We’re better off with Harper? No.

    We’re better off with Herpes.

    All you creative photoshop people make it so.

  19. Scotian says:

    The wife and I watched this ad several times in a row, in part because we simply couldn’t believe what we we seeing/hearing. First off, that flag with the ragged edge just leaps out at us, and leaving aside the message conflict issues having it there causes just from the competence on production values this is damaging. I mean how hard is it to use/get footage of a flag without such a problem, or failing that in post production digitally cleaning it up? Then there is the point about how it undercuts the main message of the ad to have the image of a tattered flag, you are trying to sell that you and yours are the only competent choice in these hard times yet you cannot even have a flag that is not tattered in your ad?

    Then there is the sound track. I mean what was up with that? It wasn’t anything other than creepy with that alternating dissonant tones at its core. Again, how does that leave a person feeling like they trust the focus of the ad, instead it leaves a very unsettled feeling in a person, and when you are selling someone as being your steady trustworthy choice in a world with no other you want people feeling comfortable with them, not unsettled and mildly creeped out.

    I then ran the ad with no sound, and as has already been noted it looked like a sign-off from a local station at the end of broadcast, and not a terribly large station at that.

    The substance of the message is not consistent with what most Canadians apparently have been feeling, so that ends up creating a conflict in the viewer too.

    This is one of the worst ads I’ve seen out of the Harper CPC from their non-attack ad part of their ad spectrum. It actually left me feeling a little sorry for them, which given how much I have opposed Harper since before he became leader of a political party (any party), how much I wanted to prevent and then limit his time in the PMO, and how much I want him gone in the next election along with his party birthed in corruption and deception, that is no small thing.

    If this is what to be expected this time out, Warren nailed it.

  20. Robert Jago says:

    Notice the pictures too, Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatchewan (I presume), Toronto, Ottawa – no Quebec to be seen.

    • Marc-André Chiasson says:

      Not much in the way of Atlantic Canadian visuals either. So, looks like the CPC has written off everything east of the Ontario-Québec border.

  21. TrueNorthist says:

    This ad feels introspective and worse, defensive. Starts with people walking away which is weird, then his mouth isn’t in synch with the dialogue which is kinda unsettling. There is no passion at all throughout the ad. At the end they use a shot of the PM walking away which makes him look dismissive, even fed up in a way. Very, very poor ad. Maybe they are setting up a leader switch?

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