Twice now the Canadian political comedy show The Rick Mercer Report has said that the many, many ads for the Canadian government’s “Economic Action Plan” point out the ordinary spending of any government and call it their “Action Plan”. Really they are advertising nothing.
Now I usually trust The Mercer Report but since mostly the ads point out the government website, actionplan.gc.ca , I decided to go there for a firsthand experience. Now, the site is large so I didn’t inspect everything but a cursory glance found that the stuff I did read that is part of the action plan, any normal government is likely to do.
Proof of the nothing claim came at a blog post entitled “Saving You Money at the Gas Pump”. The first paragraph reads “Did you know that whether you lease or own, choosing a fuel-efficient vehicle can save you money and fuel every time you drive? It is part of the Government’s effort to reduce energy consumption.”
That is all they have to say about this part of the post. Do you see an action in that? The government isn’t even claiming to be allowing this. Because all past governments have and all future governments are likely to do the same. The government ain’t helping you buddy. You’ll have to choose that fuel-efficient vehicle on your own. With your money.
Now a large part of the Canadian public isn’t stupid. Why waste government money selling nothing?
Well, this Canadian government has called itself the Harper Government. I bet that’s in the bill of sale to the stations this campaign is using.
Remember us, Big TV, when we take out all those attack ads on Thomas Mulcair and the future Liberal Party leader.
Remember us, Big TV, when we are in the depths of an election and maybe we can get better spot times than the competition.
But even if there is no coziness between the Harper Government and Big TV, the Harper Government has the information of when and where each spot was run and can compare it to the number of hits to the website at that time. They are learning how best to advertise. That’s an expensive lesson bought by the Canadian taxpayer. The lesson was 21 million dollars last year and so far the advertising has been more aggressive this year.
This is just me talking but shouldn’t the stats of the ads and hits to the websites be totally shared with the other parties? But that’s right, this government likes to keep scientific results under their hat. Why would they treat these stats any differently?
The Harper government has been especially keen to know whether the “call to action” in all the ads has been heeded. For example, have Canadians checked out http://www.actionplan.gc.ca , the splashy website with pictures of the prime minister? Or signed up for a grant program?
Among those who could not recall seeing the action plan ads, 42 per cent approved of the government’s overall performance. Approval jumped to 47 per cent among people who had seen the TV ads, according to the analysis obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
OTTAWA – The Harper government is looking for a creative contractor to continue those feel-good “economic action plan” ads that have blanketed the airwaves for the past four years.
The government acknowledged Tuesday that “action plan” TV ads currently blanketing broadcasts of the NHL playoffs don’t contain any actual measures from this spring’s federal budget — although the ads are tagged with the budget’s #eap2013 handle.
The Conservative government has come under increasing scrutiny for its lavish spending on feel-good “economic action plan” ads that deliver little useable information but tell viewers that Canada’s economy is flourishing. Ottawa has spent at least $113 million on the ads since 2009.