Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stop the Presses: Canadian Campaign Ads, Now With Music, Voiceovers and Images

Post Secret – I think Stephen Harper is a creepy mother fucker and if he was my neighbor I wouldn’t give him my spare key to water my plants and take care of my cats when I went away on vacation. That’s how much I trust the dude who has all of our country’s secret codes.

That being said – the Conservative’s new ad campaign “Our Country” is taking a drubbing in the media and I feel it necessary to defend Herr Harper. When this is all said and done I’ll be taking a nice long shower to wash myself clean.

But in the interim - Simon Houpt, in the Globe, and scores of other reporters have reported the following story today, that Our Country is a direct copy of an ad done for Tea Party candidate Tim Pawlenty. This story was most likely fed to media outlets by the Liberal Party itself, which has quickly put together a nice video montage of both ads:

I commend the Libs for quick spin on this one; looks like that whole disaster with the Stephane Dion coalition video thing is finally behind them (remember the Dion video that arrived late to the CBC looked like Dion was some sort of Al Queda leader releasing a tape from his hidden bunker?)



So where’s the beef?

Well… both ads use voiceovers, images and orchestral music.

Yes that’s right. Voiceovers, images and music. This, in Canada, is what is now consider plagiarism. You should read people’s comments on the YouTube: “if i did this in my university I’d be expelled from all universities in ontario. that's called plagiarism.”

Houpt even uses the word plagiarism in his article: The Pawlenty plagiarism allegations threaten to derail the Conservative attempt to pivot in their messaging, from using their ads to sow fear over Michael Ignatieff to a more hopeful stance.

Since when are “voiceovers” and “images” (which are what people in the movie business call narrative techniques) plagiarism.

Furthermore the actual speeches in both ads are fairly different.

Pawlenty talks about the fact the United States is the world’s most successful nation ever known. This is due to freedom, security, and prosperity. Pawlenty’s rallying cry is that life is not easy, but American’s can overcome their challenges.

In contrast Harper talks about the fact that Canada is the true, north, strong and free. He talks not about overcoming challenges, but about serving, and creating a country of hope, where all Canada can be all that can it be.


Most importantly voiceovers, music and images are old hat in election campaigns in the States. They weren’t invented by Tim Pawlenty and the Tea Party. Here is Reagan’s fairly famous: Morning in America (which shockingly uses Images, Music and Voiceover)



Maybe Pawlenty is plagiarizing from the Gipper? Voiceovers, music and images were trademark of his 1984 campaign. Here's another add from 1984. Yes, MORE voiceover, music and images.

Lest you think this is a Republican versus Democrat thing: here’s an add for Barack Obama from 2008. Yes. Voiceovers. Images. Soaring Music.



I believe what Obama presented in his ad is a vision. Same with Pawlenty. And yes… same with Harper.

So look - lets get angry about the content of Harper’s ads – the $35 billion dollars he’s spending on fighter jets which are so amazingly featured in “Our Country”. Let’s debate Harper’s vision. But let’s not get angry about the fact that he’s presenting one.

Nah what I mean?

I’ll be showering if anyone needs me.

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