The Canadian federal election campaign has reached the halfway mark – the first leader’s debate has happened (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not participate), and the campaign planes and buses are crossing the country.
In the final days before the Prime Minister officially called the election, each of the parties rolled out respective messages they believe will resonate with their target voters and help them win the election.
For the governing Liberals, their message is “Choose Forward”.
For Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party: “It’s time for you to get ahead”.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will be betting on “In it for you” during his campaign across Canada.
Elizabeth May and the Green Party will be hoping “Not left. Not right. Forward together” is the message that springboards that party to even more seats on Oct. 21.
For each campaign, their message was heavily focus-group tested, polled and finely tuned for months. It’s on billboards, buses, planes, Facebook Ads, on the radio and featured on television ads.
To boil it down, the message is the campaign.
However, whether each leader and campaign can remain on that message will be critical to them winning on Oct. 21.
There will be unforeseen events and circumstances in any campaign that can pull anyone off message for a day or two. In 2015, all of the campaigns dealt with various issues that they didn’t want to be dealing with.
Already in this election we have seen candidates forced to resign for indiscretions like inappropriate social media posts and video and photos of the Prime Minister indulging in inappropriate behaviour. It’s almost certain there will be more to come.
Ultimately, the campaign that can continuously and quickly pivot from dealing with those unexpected issues and get back on message as fast and effectively as possible will be the one that ends up in the best position to win on Oct. 21.
Messages matter in campaigns. Let’s see what happens leading up to election day.