NDP Narrowcasting

By Jared Wesley on Sep 17, 2008

I asked the students in my Canadian Political Parties class what they thought about the "air war" thus far.  Almost everyone reported having seen the Tories' famous "blue sweater" ads.  (This is hardly surprising, given that they were released on most major networks in the weeks before the writ-drop.)  No one had seen the Liberals' "Turn the Page" ads.  (Again, not surprising.  I have to admit, I have yet to see a live, TV version.  For his part, Dion vetoed the release of an earlier version on the opening day of the campaign.)  Yet, I was surprised that none of my students had seen Jack Layton's "New Kind of Strong" ads.  This was interesting and somewhat embarassing for me...

It struck me that all of the NDP ads I have seen thus far are the product of "narrowcasting."  That is, the NDs are advertising on specialty TV channels, ensuring their message reaches target demographics.  Here's the kicker:  I was the only one in the class (12 women, 2 men) who had watched enough "Slice" and "Women's Network" television during Week 1 of the campaign to catch the NDP ads.

I stand to be corrected, but I don't recall seeing any NDP ads on CTV, CBC or Global this week.  Nor have I seen them on TSN or Sportsnet.  If true, this shows that, rather than broadcasting their ads on nation-wide television networks, the party is investing resources more strategically this year.  The move mirrors those of the Harper Conservatives (who have advertised on "men's TV" networks during the past two campaigns), and parallels similar ad-buys by Hillary Clinton in this spring's Democratic Party primary (she bought considerable time on "Oxygen" and the Hallmark Channel). 

I wonder, though: if a dozen, politically-engaged, flexibly-partisan, "avid television watching" young women in Winnipeg -- a key target for any party, let alone the NDP -- didn't see the ads, how effective is this ad-buy, really?   (As for me, I'll keep watching for Jack between Friends and X-Weighted reruns.  I don't suspect to see Mr. Harper there... But with a new suite of "softer Stephen" ads, who knows.)

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I saw the New Kind of Strong ad on the Food Network

I was surprised that none of my students had seen Jack Layton's "New Kind of Strong" ads. This was interesting and somewhat embarassing for me...

I saw that "New Kind of Strong" ad earlier in the week - I think it was playing on the CDN Food Network.

I was impressed by the productions values of ad and I thought it hit all the themes that NDP should be hitting.

According to the Globe and Mail, a Toronto ad company called Zig created the ad:

All that is about to change with the news that Zig, the feisty, award-winning Toronto-based ad shop, has taken the lead for the NDP's advertising campaign. The agency is perhaps best known for its work for Ikea (the hyper shopper who yells “Start the car!” and more recent commercials featuring a young couple who “pop” as they place Ikea furnishings about their apartment). Other clients include Molson Canadian, Best Buy and Virgin Mobile.

Come to think of it, the

Come to think of it, the only time I've seen that ad has been on Slice.

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