The Fraser Institute – a case study in how not to engage young people

This video is so shockingly bad, on so many levels, that it almost deserves a facebook group composed of its target audience dedicated to mocking it… Be warned: what you are about to watch will feel like a low-budget angry, mid-80’s government sponsored don’t do drugs commercial.

Well you can thank the Fraser Institute – publishers of an enormous amount of unthinking nonsense – for releasing this video.

I especially enjoyed the use of hip “SMS” styled messages that are guaranteed to alienate the very people it is designed to reach out to. However, what I loved best is the thing that ensures this video will fail: it does the very thing that young people hate most – it treats them like they are stupid. It makes no cogent argument, overstates the few facts it references, and fails to cite experts or personalities a young person could relate to.  For an organization that spends 80% (!!!) of its budget on advocacy and communicating its agenda one would have thought they’d have a more refined strategy.

Thankfully, they don’t.

14 thoughts on “The Fraser Institute – a case study in how not to engage young people

  1. david_a_eaves

    Hi Jen – I know. This just happens to be one of those glorious rare occasions when discrediting an organization can be achieved by widely disseminating their own material.

  2. Devin Johnston

    I saw that video a couple weeks ago as one of my conservative friends had posted it on Facebook. I laughed so hard I almost cried. And you are absolutely right: the worst part is not the cheesiness of the ad. The worst part is that they fail to make the logical, rational argument they promise at the beginning. Epic fail.

  3. Jason Mogus

    I have a bit of a different take on it. Yes this isn't such a great vid, but I see it as a “call to arms” that progressive orgs need to get bolder, better, faster with social media storytelling and engagement campaigns. These guys are testing the waters, and they will get smarter. The kinds of videos I see orgs like CCPA (sorry to pick on them, they are great) and other non profits put out are BORING with a capital B, if they are even putting out videos. We started a little thread over on the Web of Change website, and also sent it out to our email list.…. Would love to hear other's thoughts.

  4. kferaday

    It's kind of funny that GW skeptics always use the old “it's cold outside today” argument to support their contention that GW is not real. Really it was hot or cold or snowed on one day a few years ago in an area that's normally much hottter, colder, drier, wetter is their argument? I wish they could come up with something a bit more original than that.

  5. Kevin Grandia

    The Fraser Institute is completely out of touch with where people are at on the issue, especially youth. They're pandering to those who will never be convinced that climate change is a problem. In other words spending a whole lot of time and money on a strange video that will get a chuckle out of a fringe group. If they are planning to use social media, they're doing a very poor job of it.

  6. david_a_eaves

    @withoutayard twittered at me that the only thing missing from this video is a hip soundtrack like this! Perfect.

  7. torontomec

    And if it is the Canadian Fraser Institute then why are they using the imperial system. I guess they also yearn for the days of pounds, inches, and gallons as well.

  8. MLH

    I'm rather surprised there wasn't a call in the video to duck and cover. The Fraser Institute has always been at a very particular spot on the political continuum – their politics aren't in doubt – but this particular foray into public policy, ahem, discussion is beneath them. This just makes them even less reputable in any discussion in my books. In fact, in may even place them under the ruberic of “doofus”. Or would that be “doofi”?

  9. Jeremy Vernon

    Does anyone else find it dismaying that they make a mockery of the dwindling population of polar bears in Canada? Irrespective of one's opinion on climate change and its causes the threatening of this distinctively Canadian animal is tragedy.This is entirely expected from this country's leading producer of vitriol and bunk science – I guess it's had to step things up with the PMO entering into the scene as a close competitor.

  10. Jess

    Kind of like how in Jerry Maguire they had her at 'hello',this one lost me at 'warning'.My take is that whoever created this doesn't ever eat dinner with their children (niece, nephew etc.)They lack a relevant perspective because they are likely too busy making video landfill waste.Bad advertising is insulting. So is a waste of money.

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