The 60-second advertisement, provided to Global News, features Del Duca recalling the death of his brother, Michael, in 2018 and the emotional distress the family continues to work through.
“You have to find a way to be resilient enough in the face of adversity,” Del Duca says in the commercial. “You need to just put one foot in front of the other.”
Liberal campaign sources tell Global News the ads are designed to connect with voters dealing with the challenges of the pandemic while showcasing what the party said is a “strength of character.”
Missing from the commercial, however, is any mention of Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford or NDP Leader Andrea Horwath — the two people Del Duca needs to defeat in the upcoming election campaign as his party attempts to launch itself from third place and into first.
But the PCs and NDP have also released leader-focused commercials in the last week in an attempt to showcase their strengths and introduce themselves to voters who might have otherwise tuned out.
The Ford-focused ad features a campaign jingle while video of the premier touring manufacturing facilities, interacting with voters and taking phone calls are flashed on screen. The ad ends with the party’s campaign slogan “get it done.”
On Wednesday, the NDP released a new commercial featuring Horwath recounting the lessons of “hard work” she learned from her parents and how that translated into her political work.
“I’m running for premier to work for you,” Horwath says in the commercial.
Greg MacEachern, senior vice-president at Proof Strategies, said positive advertising can be a “video version of a name-tag” to help voters familiarize themselves with party leaders.
“A positive ad can be a way to introduce or frame a candidate, but it can also be a way to ask the voter to take a second look at a particular candidate,” MacEachern said.
While Del Duca has been the target of negative ads by both the NDP and PC parties, the campaign wouldn’t say whether they would be ready to launch attack ads of their own — which political observers say have staying power.
“Studies show that negative ads tend to have more permanence in terms of people’s recollections,” MacEachern said. “Everyone says they hate negative ads, but the reality is they quite often work.”
The election campaign begins on May 4th.