The Hall Of Fame: Ad firms that have made a difference in Canadian politics
Cockfield, Brown - The first "Liberal-friendly" ad firm. Based in Montreal, Cockfield, Brown was the first Canadian agency to do public opinion polling, and the Liberals used that research to develop the social welfare policies that made them virtually unbeatable in the 1940s and 50s. So close was the relationship between the party and the firm that Bob Kidd, a Cockfield, Brown executive, worked for the party full time for many years while still on the firm's payroll.
McKim Advertising Agency - Canada's first ad agency, founded in Montreal in 1889. While Cockfield, Brown was feeding the Liberals increasingly sophisticated polling data and adopting modern marketing techniques in the post-war period, McKim was running Conservative campaigns the old-fashioned way� and it showed. But then again, maybe no one could have made a winner out of political stiffs such as George Drew and John Bracken.
Camp Associates - Dalton Camp played so many roles in Canadian politics and journalism that it is easy to forget that he was, at bottom, an advertising man. His association with the national Conservative party began in 1953, but even before that he was working for the provincial party in New Brunswick. In 1957, his slogan, "It's time for a Diefenbaker government," helped end more than two decades of Liberal rule by focusing on the leader's popularity at the expense of the party. Camp eventually became a senior adviser to Brian Mulroney, and the firm profited from its close association with Conservative governments in Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Red Leaf Communications - Not really an ad agency, but a consortium of Liberal advertisers who handled the party's advertising during national elections. It was established by Jerry Grafstein and Keith Davey during the 1974 federal campaign. Red Leaf was a non-profit organization, but companies that contributed their people to the cause were usually rewarded with government contracts if the election outcome was favourable.
MacLaren Advertising - Joined forces with the Liberals while the party was in opposition in the early 1960s. Together, MacLaren's Richard O'Hagan and Liberal strategist Keith Davey brought Canadian politics into the television age. O'Hagan eventually became communications adviser to Pierre Trudeau. MacLaren's record was far from flawless. It was responsible for the disasterous 1972 "the land is strong" campaign, but overall, both the agency and the party benefited enormously from their decades-long relationship.
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