Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Political Attack Ads

"In political campaigns, an attack ad is an advertisement whose message is meant as a personal attack against another candidate or political party. Attack ads often form part of negative campaigning or smear campaigns, and in large or well-financed campaigns, may be disseminated via mass media.

An attack ad will generally unfairly criticize an opponent's political platform, usually by pointing out its faults. Often the ad will simply make use of innuendo, based on opposition research. Televised attack ads rose to prominence in the United States in the 1960s, and their use has gradually spread to other democratic countries since then, notably in Canada (see below)."


Like or not Political Attack ads are very common in today's politics. While often informative they can be very petty, circumstantial, ridiculous, based mostly in half truths and honestly quite funny.

Spend some time looking at the Ads below. Find some other ones and post them as comments. What do you like or not like about them? What makes them interesting to you? Or just tell us what you think about them.




Green Party Ad

Harper Breaks the Law??..

Look here to find a bunch

NDP Video gallery

Liberal Youtube page

Conservative Youtube page

Green Party Youtube page


  1. These anti-ads show only one side of the view. Moreover, we do not even know if these supposed facts are correct or not. My favourite ad was the Green Party ad, as it is the only one that actually sends an optimistic, peaceful message

  2. They are all the same, blah blah blah blah.
    Funny ones are the best.....


    here are most of the liberals commercials

    One part I heard in one of the Conservatives ads was "Ignatieff only came back to be Prime Minister" I don't really understand that and how it would ruin Ignatieff's rep. I mean, if I had the chance to be Prime Minister and I lived in the States..I would definitely come back and run

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I agree with Jack all of these vids are direct attacks to other parties. It's funny how some viewers believe every word in the commercials as truth about the other parties! there is no hard evidence supporting their attacks.

    This is a vid I found funny....

  6. Millions are spent during political campaigns and a fair bit of that budget is allocated to ads like the ones above. They are targeted at the common people and their emotions instead of promoting their platform. Sometimes, the ads may help in the polls. However, they are mostly crock full of it and the general public is able to see through the sugar coating or be just generally repulsed by the content. The Jean Chretien ad is one prime example of how Kim Campbell grossly miscalculated.


    I don't really like most of the campaign advertisements, although they are funny at times, simply because of the slandering and defamation. I think people who are willing to manipluating quotes and situations into something false that will better themselves while maligning others really shows something about their character.

    -Steven Zheng

  8. I believe that we just have to accept that attack ads have become part of modern politics. These ads are a way of getting elected, so it is unlikely that any party would propose legislation to ban them. That said, most people never know the entire story about why things happen. They just know that it has occurred. So whenever we are exposed to any type of media coverage on politics, we should take the time to understand the situation 360 degrees before jumping to a conclusion.

    Here's one that I found. My opinion on these attack ads are that a lot of what is put into them is possibly one of the few downfalls the candidate has had just blown out of proportion. Their opinion is what sticks into our heads rather than the many possible good things that they may have accomplished.

  10. It is inevitable that political parties will receive attacks from opposing parties. Most of these advertisements although funny and somewhat baseless, has their effects on the general public and their opinions about the parties. Many of these videos are biased by giving limited informations about the parties. It is something that we have to live with. Slanders and hates has surround and will continue to surround us for long.

  11. Some of these ads are simply ridculous, many don't consider other aspects of the issue, and are simply made for the sake of attacking the other parties. I think even the party who makes the ads itself doesn't even feel the way it does in the ads. The ads aren't meaningful in anyway, they are just there for the viewers to support the party who made it.

  12. This ad I found was the earliest attack ad used in 1964, known as Daisy Girl and was used by Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater. "The ad opened with a young girl innocently picking petals from a daisy, while a man's voice (which may have had somewhat of a 'southwestern' accent similar to Goldwater's) performed a countdown to zero. It then zoomed in to an extreme close up to her eye, then cut to an image of a nuclear explosion. The ad was shocking and disturbing, but also very effective. It convinced many that Goldwater's more aggressive approach to fighting the Cold War could result in a nuclear conflict."

  13. It seems that the main purpose of these adds are to give a negative image of the opposition, particularly the leader. For the most part, the opposition is portrayed very inaccurately in each of the above ads and I believe that the majority of Canadians are able to notice that, thus rendering these ads useless. I feel that political ads should explain the parties platform and why we should vote for them rather then showing us why we should not vote for someone else. Additionally, with most of the political parties being very close to each other on the political, their ad campaigns should focus key differences that make them stand apart from the others.

    -Michael Wong

  14. I find it interesting that certain undisclosed people believe that the Green Party Ad was the only ad optimistic about Canadian Politics. Regardless of how "nice" they seem, that ad was just as effective as an attack ad as all of the other ads. Albeit not as direct or specific in it's attack, but using a quote from Steven here, "better themselves while maligning others", how does the Green Party Ad do anything different? By putting themselves onto a podium, and essentially targeting the values of Canadian politics (exempting themselves) they are just as vehemently attacking the opposition as every other party's ads.

  15. I like how some of the attack ads are funny, but they don't really accomplish much. Instead of educating people about politics they just skew ideas. The point of being a politician is to lead people, however it seems that all these leader care about is their own jobs and trying to destroy the chances of others to take power. Why not have ads that focus on the positive side of things and building ideas. Or they could just make the attack ads more clever, like there are way better ways skew information. What if stephen harper was actually a laser gun weilding tentacle monster? is that the kind of tentacle monster you want leading your country?

    -nick ewasiuk

    Another ad that I found that I think is interesting. McCain brings up a fact that one of Obama's supporters is a suspected terrorist, but when thought about, voters and supporters for both sides are possibly suspected terrorists, or convicted criminals. The people who make these ads chose a topic that could possibly hit close to home on some supporters and hopefully change their opinion. As a rebuttal to that ad Obama could have possibly brought out something the exact same with any person who supports McCain.


    A parody of an attack on Michael Ignatieff showing how unorthodox parties act against each other during an election.

    The real ad.


    Attack ad on Corporate Tax Cuts. Liberal against Conversative.

    Interesting Liberal vision of Canada

    If you look at both of these ads, it just shows how hypocritical these parties are. They attack other parties and then lie they didn`t do anything. It just goes to show what type of people we are voting for our government.

  20. I believe that the attack ads are meant for a large percentage of the population of Canada that is not well informed about politics. The messages are simple and to the point and could easily influence the decision of a borderline voter. Attack ads are also especially helpful in getting the votes of younger voters. Due to the fact that some of these new voters are not very aware of the political climate in Canada.

    -Harmillan Oberoi

  21. Political attack ads are, as many people have stated before me, merely gimmicks to either disgrace their opposition or sway the uneducated voter on the status of the nation. They are not meant to be very educational in the first place, and are mainly used to discredit others or depict them in an unflattering light. For this reason, i don't take them two seriously too start with and if i feel that an attack ad makes a valid point, then i would research the issue before mindlessly throwing my vote towards either party.

    Here's an attack ad about Obama from the 2008 election where they compare him to Paris Hilton:

  22. So I thought this video was pretty straight forward, saying Ottawa will not longer be the balance of least thats what i understood...dont really speak french.

    And I just found these two videos very funny.



    This parody is funny. For the most part, political ads don't really convey much in policies, instead they gear in on the character flaws of certain leaders. Parties understand that most people have their minds made up about which parties they identify with; they use the ads to deliver a cheap shot to disparage a specific politician.


  25. Roy Yang

    The Ads seem to direct more of a hate/indicting message rather than an informative message for the public. Personally, I rather have the advertisements less directed to accusing different politicians and more towards informing the public of various facts.

    But the ads are funny usually. This is a link that i saw from Anthony- the ad comparing Obama to Britney and Paris.