Ottawa’s Wireless Ads Provocative but Lacking Policy Solutions, Study Says

by Istvan Fekete on March 20, 2014

You may recall that Ottawa has spent millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on wireless competition ads. But as a recent market study shows, the campaign left annoyed consumers wondering what the Conservatives intended to do about the issue.

“The campaign succeeded in raising consciousness but didn’t communicate the tangible actions that are being considered by our government,” said a focus-group report prepared for Industry Canada by the market research firm TNS Canada.

The exact amount spent on wireless ads was $9 million, and this included radio, newspaper and television campaigns, fighting back against the ad campaign started by the incumbents against Ottawa’s wireless policy.

Commenting on the matter, a spokesman for Industry Minister James Moore said the government feels that “overall, the report is positive”. That’s a weak defense for spending $9 million on a campaign that failed to transmit a clear message of how the government intends to solve the issue.

“Canada’s largest wireless companies spent millions this past summer mischaracterizing the government’s wireless policies,” Jake Enright said in an email. “As a government, we have an obligation to communicate the facts about our policies. These ads provide those facts.”

Market research firm TNS Canada has found that Ottawa’s ads were essentially policy free.

“Generally speaking, study participants in all cities alike were more receptive to the claim reminding Canadians that they pay some of the highest wireless fees in the world,” said the “key findings.” “Although the ad is thought-provoking, the objective of more choice, lower prices and better service is not totally clear.”

The results add another line in the list of accusations the Harper government faces over undertaking fast-and-loose advertising campaigns at public expense, while failing to convey useable programs or a policy of public service information, the Canadian Press reports.

Even Bernard Lord, the president and CEO of the CWTA (Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association), said that the ads aired last fall rubbed many up the wrong way.

Putting customers first was one of the key theme of the ads, but as the study points out, concrete policy actions have been vague.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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