In my next post to The Activist I will examine the subtle impacts of the more obvious influences on the 2015 federal election, but for this post I want to share a story few have heard about one of the most powerful, behind the scenes influences on the dramatic October 19 outcome.
Did the Liberals have an astonishingly clever campaign? Did Mulcair stumble when he should of been dashing? Did the Conservatives pull down the pillars of their own governance structure with the sudden and devastating foray into the realm of hate literature? All of the above?
There is no end to the stories you will hear from pundits about the vagarities of this gruelling 78 day election campaign, and much of it with its own valid perspective, but here is a story you will likely not hear about what may well be the most pervasive impact on the stunning defeat for the New Democrat and Conservative parties and the sweeping victory for the Liberals.
A little over half way through the campaign I was out canvassing for Gord Johns in Courtenay when I ran into another Gord Johns canvasser pounding the pavement in the district adjacent to mine. He had an interesting tale to tell about being harassed by a belligerent supporter of another party. But the really fascinating thing he had to tell me was about his rather unique perspective on how the Liberals were doing with their national campaign.
Eric knew something about the election that the rest of us didn’t BECAUSE, Eric had been a television producer. He knew about how ads are created and what they cost to produce and what very expensive ads look like and what cheap ads look like and he knew the price of getting those ads out on the air ways with the kind of distribution and frequency that it takes to change perceptions about a product or a party or candidate.
According to Eric there had been a dramatic recent change in the Liberal television ads. While their early ads were amateur, clumsy, caricatures of the kind of ad big money can produce there had been a dramatic change in the quality. The new ads were subtle, they appealed to powerful subliminal perception and they were not only extremely effective advertising, they were, obvious to Eric, extraordinarily expensive to produce and to air at the saturation rate they were getting. “These ads cost millions to produce, and more to run at the rates they are running,” Eric exclaimed. There had, obviously, been a dramatic change in the bank balance in the Liberal Party account. This was well before we heard the revelation that senior Liberal Party advisor Daniel Gagnier had already been recruited to help TransCanada Corp promote is controversial Energy East pipeline.
Eric tried to explain to me, in the kind of plain language I can understand, the difference between amateurish ads that say things like the NDP ad where Tom Mulcair stands alone and stiffly asserts “I am ready to govern,” and the kind of Trudeau ascending the Grouse Grind sensuously immersing ad that communicates most effectively by not stating its case explicitly letting the message sink into the folds of the unconscious where it nestles down into the very core of our perceptions unchallenged by our critical mind.
So, not knowing the dramatic October outcome, Eric quite accurately predicted that the Liberals would form a strong majority based on the obvious desire of Canadians for change and the power of expensive ads. What money is the biggest factor in determining the outcome of an election? Ya think?
More of the election and especially the other money issue deficits and balanced budgets in the next post to The Activist.