Ad Watch – You’ve lost me/lost touch

Wednesday, 14 November 2007 

Having been fairly critical of Labor’s campaign recently, these two ads are not that bad.

The soft language (“sorry Mr Howard” “no offence”) is supposed to portray not a Howard-hater but someone who could have voted for Howard last time, which is moderately believable. However, it also acknowledges the difficulty of running a successful negative campaign ad in this election. As the government likes to remind itself, there is no one ready to swing a baseball bat, but that highlights its problem, there is nothing to swing a bat at.

The government’s program exhaustion is coming across as having no policy that relates to anything in society (‘lost touch’) and a retrospective awakening to the realisation that the government has done nothing for the last eleven years, something that both ads address. In contrast to what else we are seeing in the Labor campaign, Workchoices and Costello are treated properly here. Workchoices is just another cost of living complaint and she doesn’t like Costello without needing to give a reason why.

Most importantly, the latest ad is the first of the campaign proper that finally mentions the clearest sign of the government’s policy exhaustion, Howard’s retirement plan. Presumably it is after getting the research findings that were reported a couple of days ago, which is why Rudd is now repeating it at every opportunity. Surprisingly, Howard seems unprepared for it except to start to try and wriggle out of it. This is the one good thing about a profound policy vacuum, there is little internal challenge that would pressure him to go, if by some miracle, he survived Saturday week.


Posted by The Piping Shrike on Wednesday, 14 November 2007.

Filed under Tactics

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