Harper government’s telecom ads raised ire but lacked policy: focus groups

The Harper government spent millions of dollars last fall on wireless competition ads that left consumers wondering what the Conservatives intended to do about the issue. Focus group testing on the federal ad campaign found that it generally raised awareness about high cellphone bills but failed to communicate what tangible actions the government was considering. […]

The Harper government spent millions of dollars last fall on wireless competition ads that left consumers wondering what the Conservatives intended to do about the issue.

Focus group testing on the federal ad campaign found that it generally raised awareness about high cellphone bills but failed to communicate what tangible actions the government was considering.

The $9-million radio, newspaper and television campaign raised the ire of the heavily regulated telecommunications industry, which called the ads an unprecedented government attack on a major industrial sector.

Under federal advertising rules, the government must test ads with focus groups and documents show the fall TV campaign appeared to raise blood pressure without suggesting solutions.

The report says the TV ad left viewers guessing as to what specific actions the government intends to take.

A wireless spectrum auction last month raised a record $5.27 billion for federal coffers but failed to immediately entice a fourth major player into the Canadian market – and this week, the Big Three telecommunications giants raised their prices in lockstep.

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