Oxymoron or not, Canadian Attack Ads are a Thing
Political season is upon us so I thought I would look into the effectiveness of attack ads vs. positive ones. It was a strange and winding road my research took me on. There were placard toting cartoons marching to Disney jingles, disembodied cackling with a vintage TV set, and a gawking old man heaving a small boulder into a lake. The biggest surprise however was the discovery that even the sweetest people on earth (Canadians) are not immune to negativity in politics.
Okay maybe the old man with the rock was stranger, but we’ll get into that later.
The point here is that as a Mainer I have a soft spot for Canadians. They’re sweet people. If you slap a plate of maple soaked flapjacks from their hand, they will apologize. I find this interminable politeness incredibly endearing. It inspirers protective mother hawk instincts in me, so I was at a loss when witnessing the infighting between parliamentary candidates.
In refreshing transparency compared to the American political system the Canadians have a Liberal Party and a Conservative Party. As you can imagine they disagree on everything but the awesomeness of snowmobiles. The conservative party recently released a series of attack ads aimed at rising star and three-musketeer enthusiast Justin Trudeau.
The three ads called Trudeau out on a variety of accusations, from a soft stance on terrorism to support of marijuana legalization. All three ads ended with the same ominous voice over accompanied by footage of Trudeau doing a slow motion strip tease.
Rather than responding to these offenses with more negativity Trudeau released a series of ads that basically said while the conservatives are wasting time attacking me I’m spending my time working to make Canada a better place.
Now there’s a real Canadian.
There are times for aggressive attacks on politicians: corruption, nepotism, tyranny, a lifetime of lies. But the attacks on Trudeau seemed flimsy at best. In my experience the basis of out lash is frequently insecurity. If you don’t have much positive to say about yourself than the best you’re left with is tearing down the other guy. Conversely, if you let the dishonest words of your assailants bounce off you without impact it projects a position of strength.
In a time when the vicious political climate is disillusioning constituents around the globe a little ray of Canadian sunshine is refreshing. At the risk of sounding too hope and change-y, consider this: would you rather suck on sweet piece of butterscotch candy or a soggy yellow vending machine pickle. Think aboot it.