The federal Liberals yesterday launched “pucapab“, a French-language social media campaign they hope will become a “viral cri du coeur”. While it may be too soon to say whether this latest attempt to leverage social media for partisan purpose actually catches on or fizzles out like so many others, this campaign may yet prove that when it comes to online attack ads, less is more.
The name of the Liberal Facebook-based campaign is based on a colloquial contraction of the words “plus capable”, which translate roughly into “I can’t take it anymore”. The animated YouTube video at the centre of the campaign features a catchy tune and lyrics taking issue with Conservative policies on a pencil-sketched backdrop of fighter jets, gallows and a padlocked Parliament.
The reason this latest effort may fare better than earlier online efforts by either party, is that the video is eminently sharable. It’s fresh and has one other thing going for it other online attack ads did not: It’s humorous without being mean-spirited. Because it avoids harsh personal attacks, this is one video that moderate partisans will feel comfortable sharing with family and friends.
In an earlier blog post looking at Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s use of social media I said that an explanation for his social media success was that by being fresh and interesting, his campaign content encouraged sharing and in so doing tapped into the full power of social media.
By being original, humorous and moderate this video campaign may just spark online (and off-line) conversations across a larger segment of the population and succeed where other harder-hitting campaigns failed. Will it go viral? Time will tell.