Ontario campaign ads set to hit airwaves as ban ends tonight
After two weeks of TV and radio silence, Ontario voters will start to see and hear a lot more from their party leaders as a ban on paid advertising ends at midnight Tuesday.
Imposed by Ontario’s chief electoral officer, the ban put a moratorium on paid print and broadcast ads but did not apply to online messages, where the parties have been posting video ads since the campaign kicked off.
Such bans are imposed in snap elections and are intended to prevent the incumbent government — in this case, Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals — from having an advantage over the other parties. Without such a ban, the party in power could prepare ads in the days and weeks leading up to dissolution, leaving opposition parties with no time to catch up.
Sitting governments already have an advantage in the timing of ads, often using them to burnish their image as needed during a mandate. The Liberal Party aired ads depicting a purposeful Wynne walking on suburban streets defending her government in the weeks before the moratorium began two Wednesdays ago.
With the lifting of the ban, Greg Elmer, a professor of media at Ryerson University, expects the parties will start with a few hard-hitting ads right off the bat, while keeping some messages in reserve to see how the campaign unfolds.
“All of the parties are trying to judge the electorate, to see what the other sides are putting out and respond in kind,” he said.
Elmer said online political ads are well-suited to “rapid response” messages because they can be produced and posted quickly. They work well in a back-and-forth battle with an opponent’s campaign, almost like a debate.
But online ads also have their limitations. They tend to reach people already closely invested in the campaign. Many of these people can be highly influential — such as media types with thousands of social media followers — but online ads tend to be missed by voters who choose not to follow every twist and turn of the campaign.
TV ads, on the other hand, “tend to speak to broader swaths of the electorate,” said Elmer. (Source: CBC News)
Published on the french language website HistoireEngagée.
Posted to the Yahoo News Canada cartoon of the day.