Hi-tech campaigns

Staff ~ The Amherst News
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Another ad from the Tories takes aim at Stephane Dion and there are those who will reason the federal leader needs to be taken to task for past positions and performance. Yet anyone who holds political discourse dear might recall a foreshadowing of this kind of political persuasion, in which image is all that matters.

Observers agree that with televisions in most households five decades or more ago, campaigns changed forever. Suddenly, it mattered as much or more how a leader looked than what he said.

The classic illustration was south of the border in 1960 when Richard Nixon was up against John F. Kennedy. As history played out, certainly, Nixon is remembered as a villain and Kennedy, generally, as a hero.

But in that campaign, it was close. Most felt Nixon outperformed Kennedy in pure debate. But when the two were compared on television, Nixon had a frumpy look. He didnt have the looks, the appeal and the carriage of young Kennedy. People to this day argue it was image to a large extent that helped Kennedy squeeze through.

Now to the modern-day slugfest as the Canadian Conservatives attempt to keep themselves buoyed in popular opinion. A new French-language TV ad to run in Quebec looks much like something designed for the Internets popular YouTube.

With ominous music in the background and images of Dion on the screen, the subject is the recent federal budget and how beneficial it is to Quebecs future. It goes on to ask rhetorically whether Dions Liberals might take the money back.

No doubt if this proves popular every party with budgetary means will employ such methods to appeal to voters.

Given advances in communications technology, its inevitable election campaigns would one day be built by masters of Internet design just what the political world does not need.

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