U.S. consultants who worked on the winning side of the Canadian federal election aren’t taking any victory laps.
The Canadian campaign that wrapped Oct. 19 was the country’s longest since the 19th century, resulted in a historic comeback by the Liberal Party and saw record spending. In fact, each of the parties was legally able to spend some $50 million during the 78-day race. Even with the low Canadian dollar, that meant the Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats had large enough budgets to attract American talent.
Now, consultants usually aren’t shy about touting their involvement in a winning race, but client sensitivity over perceived cozying up to the Americans and non-disclosure agreements (NDA) are keeping the bragging to a minimum — even for those involved with incoming-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party.
Precision Strategies’ Jen O’Malley Dillon, who worked with the Liberals, tweeted her congratulations to Trudeau advisors Gerald Butts, Katie Telford and Jeremy Broadhurst. “#Hopeandhardwork every single day paid off. #proud,” she wrote Monday. O’Malley Dillon’s firm also boasted of being “honored to be a part of #TeamTrudeau” on Twitter. And she's since penned a piece in C&E lessons from this year's Canadian campaign.
Neither did NGP VAN's Marc Gendron, who was part of the company’s team working with the Liberal Party. Instead, both Gendron and NGP VAN simply used Twitter to celebrated the Liberals' win.
The reluctance to engage in a public post-mortem is down to the fact that campaign work is tightly controlled by the party committees in Canada, according to Matthew McMillan, who leads DSPolitical’s international work.
“Campaigns are much more centralized,” he told C&E, declining to specify which of the parties his firm worked with citing a NDA. “We were working directly for the clients. They’re hiring external consultants to produce ads and provide polling strategy, but the media buys are being done in house.”
One lesson from the Canadian race, said McMillan, was using IP-targeting to reach floors of apartment buildings. Ridings, or districts, in urban centers like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal were battlegrounds during the race. But with limited cookie inventory in Canada, it was hard to reach those voters, according to McMillan.
“Our match rates weren’t as high on just cookies so we had to provide an IP-level solution that was targeting individual houses and apartment-building floors,” he said. “That was something they’d never really done in Canada.”
The IP-targeting allowed DSPolitical’s clients to “cut through the noise,” said McMillan, noting that office towers and hotels were often grouped with apartment blocks making a Facebook geo-target inefficient.
“We were worried about doing a generic Facebook target because you’re going to hit people while they’re at work or at a hotel. That’s why this IP-targeting by the floor-level was actually good for delivering ads into voters’ homes,” he said. “That’s applicable to a U.S. urban center.”