Just like the rest of us working schmoes, politicians are hired by the public to do a job, and ultimately we have the power to show them the door if their performance is deemed unsatisfactory.
That’s the basis of a pointed new campaign from the Alberta Federation of Labour targeting the governing United Conservative Party of Alberta ahead of the May 2023 election. Developed by the Point Blank Creative team of writer Nathan Hare and art director Nikki Wallin, the campaign is inspired by a simple question: “What if Alberta gave the UCP a job performance review?”
But rather than the actual job performance review UCP will receive at the ballot box next election, the campaign is set in an actual office to comedically illustrate what AFL believes is the government’s poor job performance.
The video ads feature actor Javelin Laurence in an Alberta-shaped costume bearing the UCP logo. The UCP keeps putting its own priorities ahead of people’s concerns, and cannot even adequately answer questions about what it’s actually doing all day.
In the campaign’s 75-second lead spot, “UCP Performance Evaluation”—which is also running on TV as a 30-second cutdown—the UCP struggles to answer questions like “What would you say you do around here?” (“Umm, politics,” the UCP responds) and how they could potentially keep costs down (“What about keeping the minimum wage…more minimum” is the response). Asked if they have a plan for creating new jobs, the UCP tries to bluff with a stack of blank papers. The ads are running on TV and digital video (see them below), as well as radio and Meta.
Point Blank’s executive creative director Pierre Chan spent time with agencies including Cossette and One Twenty Three West, working on brand campaigns for clients like McDonald’s and Sleeman. He said that he has tried to bring that kind of approach to Point Blank’s clients.
“I think a lot of people have a negative connotation of political advertising,” he said. “You hear the words ‘political ads’ and you think of attack ads and a voiceover talking over flashing images of the opposing party members. They’re over-the-top, and it doesn’t feel like they’re using creativity whatsoever.
“We’re competing for everyone’s attention, regardless of whether it’s for a brand or political advertising, so I’m trying to bring what I’ve learned with the mainstream advertising agencies and apply it to politics,” he added. “In the end we’re still trying to get people to do and think the way we want them to.”