Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the Liberals don't have a paid ad campaign set for their first budget. (The Canadian Press)Finance Canada alone spent $8 million on action plan ads last year — the second-biggest single government ad campaign behind recruiting ads by the Defence Department. Other government departments and agencies, including the Canada Revenue Agency and Employment and Social Development Canada, each spent more than $6 million on blue-tinged, budget-themed advertising last year. Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the Liberals don't have a paid ad campaign set for their first budget, and will be reviewing all government ad spending.
A 'different approach'
The former Conservative government came under frequent fire for spending tens of millions of dollars on ads touting the benefits of its economic action plan. (The Canadian Press)Trudeau critics like to attack what they see as an image-driven prime minister, but the book Brand Command, by Memorial University political scientist Alex Marland, chronicles the extent to which the former Stephen Harper government obsessed over image-making to establish a whole-of-government Conservative brand. Marland argues Trudeau will find it very difficult to resist the systemic forces that tend to centralize governments, including the need to establish an easily identifiable brand. But he also observes that the camera-friendly Trudeau has a leg up in the image-driven branding game. "Branding strategy seeks to influence public impressions and to set and advance agendas," writes Marland. "It is accompanied by an organizational willingness to exploit opportunities to penetrate a communications cyclone and a motivation to achieve resource efficiencies." For Liberals, those resource efficiencies may include less paid advertising for now as Trudeau establishes the Liberal brand by hop-scotching across the country and the world. The prime minister flies to Washington for a nuclear summit later today.
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