Canadian Attack Ads Need to Learn from Venezuela | By Emerson Csorba

At the moment, Hugo Chavez is in a run for his money in the Venezuelan national elections. In the past, Chavez used baseball as a means to maintain his political power; however, his opposition has turned the tide against him. In this attack ad, Chavez is portrayed as an egomaniacal pitcher who despite failing on the pitchers’ mound, blames his rough outing on the boisterous crowd. Baseball is a massive component of Venezuelan culture, so this ad is brilliant. It also tells a pretty entertaining story, and despite it being in a different language, I can still watch the whole thing and enjoy it.

So how does this relate to Canadian politics?

Well, when you look at this and then watch a Canadian political party attack ad, our stuff seems so boring. By no means am I a proponent of attack ads, but as long they continue to be made, why not pull from the Venezuelan example? Imagine attack ads based on the sport that most Canadians related to, hockey? The attack ads could be pretty entertaining, and would capture many viewers’ short attention spans. Think about this:

1. An attack ad that compares a political party leader to individuals responsible for the NHL lockout. Canadians hate the lockout, and so a comparison would strike a nerve.

2. Canada saw some massive triumphs in the London 2012 Olympics. Why not use some of that Olympics spirit (i.e. the Women’s National Soccer Team) to engage Canadian viewers?

3. Tons of Canadians can relate to long Tim Hortons line-ups. If a Canadian political party delays the passage of important legislation, why not relate that to a 20-minute wait in line at Tim Hortons? You’d get viewers thinking, “Damn, I hate having to wait in line – jammed between a crowd of people – for my morning coffee. This party leader must be terrible!”

You could sit here all day long coming up with ideas. My simple point is that attack ads should tell a story, capture our attention and in some cases, have us laughing in our chairs. That could transform a boring attack ad into something well worth our time.

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