There’s been a lot of backlash from the news that the Canadian Federal Government spent $26 million on a three-month ad campaign designed to drive traffic to the Economic Action Plan website.
Taxpayers seem resent the fact that the government spent more of their money on three months of advertising than a big company like Proctor and Gamble might spend in an entire year.
Television advertising is costly enough, but these hefty price tags are the result of scheduling the ads in some of the priciest time slots, i.e., the Super Bowl, the Oscars, and Hockey Night in Canada.
And Canadians weren’t much happier about the content itself – which people saw as the government congratulating themselves for doing a good job and explaining why we should be cheering them on, too.
Ouch. After spending all that money, you can see why they would rather have gotten cheers than jeers.
Marketing Video vs. TV ads
Here at Switch Video, this all got us thinking: How could the government have gotten a better return by using a marketing video series?
- Animation video is really fun to watch, so people would have been too busy smiling and feeling good to complain or point fingers. They might even share the video (read: free promotion!).
- Videos have a special place on search engine results pages, so people would find the actual videos, rather than a whole lot of talk about what the government is doing wrong (a public relations lesson learned by BP during the oil spill).
- Animated video can explain complex political topics quickly and clearly (as President Obama has demonstrated with his government’s whiteboard videos, and people will remember more of what they see in an explainer video.
- It’s a lot easier to make fun of live action videos (as we pointed out when we presented this case for animating Sarah Palin)
- They could have taught Canadians how to access and use the programs they were promoting, like we helped the Washington State REALTORS® do.
We’d love to help the Government of Canada get a better return – and a better response – the next time they want to spend $26 million.
Hey, we could even do it for a little less.