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Viewpoints: Cuts hurt

February 24, 2015 Shelley Magnusson, Executive Staff Officer, Government

ATA relaunches advertising campaign


It’s like déjà vu all over again! Once again the Alberta government is making noises about reducing finding for education, health, human services and advanced education. Why these four? According to Finance Minister Robin Campbell, these four departments make up 80 per cent of the provincial government’s budget (and provide the most visible services to the broadest segments of Albertans), so if you’re going to make across-the-board cuts, those areas must bear the brunt of the cuts. The promised five per cent cut to all departments, combined with no funding to manage the two per cent population growth and two per cent inflation, means the real impact of funding cuts will be at least nine per cent.

So what can the Alberta Teachers’ Association do?

Well, the Association launched a “new” advertising campaign on Feb. 7. I say “new” in quotations because, much like the Alberta government’s reaction to falling oil prices, we too are going back in time. The spring advertising campaign features a revamped version of the Stop the Cuts campaign that was originally developed in 2009. As part of the spring 2015 campaign, the website has been redesigned with more information regarding the need for sustained, adequate funding for education.

In addition to the website, the ads will also appear on TV and in Cineplex movie theatres across Alberta.

We often get asked about why we advertise on television given the propensity of people to use their PVRs as a way to avoid commercials. Todd Sloane, creative director of Tag Advertising, the company handling the ATA account, says, “Most people watch their local news live rather than recording it.”

That is why the majority of our television ads appear during the morning and evening news. In addition, the ads in this campaign are 15 seconds long and most will appear as the first and last ad during an ad block. This is designed to catch the eye of the people who fast forward through commercials, because no matter how good you are at hitting that fast forward button, the first and last part of the commercial blocks are still visible.

The ATA’s greatest audience reach, however, is through the online component. When people search on Google using one of our identified keywords, our ad will appear next to the search results. The number of times the ad appears is tracked, to show which keywords are causing the ad to appear.

The campaign managers researched a list of best keywords to target. This list will be updated daily based on the results. Geotargeting will ensure that ads appear only on IP addresses within Alberta. Ads will also be placed on specific high-yield sites, such as the Weather Network and YouTube. Again, campaign managers are able to respond daily to circumstances and change the placement of ads if needed.

So what does this mean for you?

We need your help! Please go to the website and add your voice. Write your MLA and demand that education funding not be based on the ups and downs of the commodities market. We know that the government will listen if the voices are loud enough — Bill 10 proved that. Add your voice. Make a difference.

Shelley Magnusson is an executive staff officer in the Government program area of the Alberta Teachers’ Association.


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