Joined: 02 Mar 2009
|Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:56 pm Post subject: ads seek to introduce Ontarians to Patrick Brown
|( I'm not exactly sure where these ads are running but it appears the party has produced some ads and is running them somewhere ? maybe online or something for people to see )
Tory ads seek to introduce Ontarians to Patrick Brown
The Progressive Conservative leader remains little known to many people in the province. With a new series of ads, the party is trying to define him before the Liberals do.
In one new ad, Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown speaks about overcoming his childhood stutter, saying he'll "never give up on anyone" and that he wants a province "where everyone has the same opportunity that I did.”
By Robert BenzieQueen's Park Bureau Chief
Fri., Jan. 13, 2017
In a little more than 500 days he could be premier of Ontario.
But Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown, who is ahead of Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne in every public opinion poll, remains little known to most people.
Wary of having their rookie leader defined in unflattering terms by the Liberals before the June 2018 election, the Conservatives have launched three digital ads aimed at introducing him to Ontarians.
“We know that the Liberals are going to unleash a campaign of unprecedented ferocity against Patrick,” PC campaign chair Walied Soliman said in an interview this week.
“The only path to re-election for them involves waging a highly negative, misleading, and personal campaign against Patrick. We all know it’s coming and we are preempting it and we are ready for it,” he said.
Bracing for a Liberal blitz assailing Brown for his flip-flops on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, the Tories’ advertising gurus at Toronto’s Indent Communications have prepared a trio of 30-second commercials.
“The objective was really to ensure that Ontarians are able to see Patrick Brown in the same way that his family and friends see him on a day-to-day basis,” said Soliman.
One commercial features the mother of an autistic child praising Brown for his advocacy, which the Tories maintain forced the Liberal government to boost autism services last June.
Another shows the leader speaking to the camera claiming — erroneously — that Ontario “hydro prices are the highest in North America.” (Residential and business electricity rates are actually lower in Toronto than in Boston, San Francisco or New York City, according to an annual Hydro-Quebec study.)
The most personal and illuminating of the three has Brown in an open-collar shirt with his sleeves rolled up, speaking about overcoming a childhood stutter.
“When I was young I struggled with a severe speech impediment,” he says in the commercial, released shortly after he opened up about his stutter to the Star’s Kristin Rushowy in a front-page story.
“Just the thought of talking terrified me.”
The ad concludes with Brown saying he’ll “never give up on anyone” and that he wants a province “where everyone has the same opportunity that I did.”
Soliman, a lifelong friend, emphasized that “it’s relatable because everyone has obstacles in their lives.”
“I distinctly remember when Patrick was overcoming his stutter. It’s a constant reminder to him that there are so many people who could flourish if given the help and support that they need,” he said.
“It’s why we use the tagline ‘I’ll never give up on anyone.’”
Alan Middleton, assistant professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business, said the ad is quite effective.
“Given the cynicism that most people hopefully now have about political advertising … (it’s) not bad,” said Middleton, a leading ad expert.
“He looks relaxed. He hasn’t tried to be something totally different from what he is. He hasn’t tried to be super-friendly, happy, chatty, because that’s not who he is,” he said.
“This is very much personalizing the leader. The Tories have been pretty well nowhere in the public’s mind so they need to start ingratiating themselves more to the public — both (for) awareness and to take away some of the knee-jerk negatives,” Middleton said.
Highlighting Brown’s overcoming his stutter should generate “a moderate bit of sympathy.”
“In this case because he’s a white male they probably felt there was some extra need to sort of push him … as ‘one of the people.’ It’s a legitimate issue.”
As to whether the ad will help him withstand any attacks from political rivals over his U-turns on social issues, Middleton said it might.
“It will never totally inoculate (him), but what it may do is if the NDP and the Liberals push it too hard, it will be seen … as over the top.”
The Liberals have already signalled how they plan to hit Brown.
In a closed-door presentation to insiders at last November’s party conference, campaign chief David Herle shared internal research on the PC leader.
Herle found Brown is politically vulnerable if Ontarians know that as a Conservative MP he voted to repeal same-sex marriage and wanted to reopen the abortion debate. (He now supports marriage equality and is pro-choice.)
Liberal polling also suggested the Tory chief’s previous opposition to the updated sex education curriculum — before changing his position last summer — and his stance on carbon pricing could be problematic for him.
Focus group research revealed Brown is little known — at one session more participants recognized Herle from his regular appearances on CBC’s The National than they did the leader of the Opposition.
That’s why the Tories are striving to define their leader.
Privately, some Conservatives are concerned about the tack.
“What’s the brand exactly? That our guy is a stutter survivor? The problem is it shows how little we have to work with. He’s 38 years old, not married, no kids, and has only ever been a politician,” said one Tory, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss party strategy.
“I’m not sure it’s enough to say that voters will still hate Kathleen Wynne in 18 months because they’re mad about hydro (rates).”