The Canadian government spent $24 million on a two-year advertising blitz to position the country as “America’s best energy partner,” according to documents obtained by CP under access to information laws.
The documents “offer a peek at the behind-the-scenes strategic considerations in 2013, as the federal government conducted a $1.6-million ad campaign in the United States that grew into a $24-million, two-year program that wraps up this month,” CP reports. “The original call for tenders spelled out the mission: to defend Canadian energy’s reputation against hostile groups and lawmakers threatening anti-oilsands measures in the U.S. and Europe.”
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In the documents, Canadian officials discuss the websites to be avoided as outlets for messaging, the Internet search terms to trigger a Canadian energy ad, the most-wanted billboard locations in Washington, DC, and “the U.S. ad salespeople who angled for a slice of the publicity pie.”
The correspondence shows decision-makers weighing the pros and cons of different social media platforms and avoiding “aggressively partisan” news sites in favour of “the more centrist National Journal.” The group considered a variety of search engine terms, with one particular proper noun falling out of contention.
“I do not suspect Google will approve Obama as a [keyword],” wrote one ad buyer. “Just giving you a heads up.”