“The Land is Strong” – a dud ad, but a classic. Where is it hidden?

Trudeau and flag

In 1972, Pierre Trudeau and his Liberals informed us that under their stewardship, the land was strong and we should re-elect them. The message didn’t go over very well. But why can’t we find that message on the internet today?

So were you by any chance puzzled by the oh-so-Canadian reference I made at the end of last night’s post? If you’re not Canadian, or not that interested in politics – or perhaps more to the point, not old enough – you might not have smiled as I did even as I inserted that reference to the theme of a political advertising campaign that is widely considered one of the most disastrous in Canadian history. It was, of course, “The Land is Strong.”

That was the theme Pierre Trudeau‘s Liberals chose to try to persuade Canadians to leave them in power in 1972, four years and a bit of a hangover after all the excitement of Trudeaumania in 1968. Oh man, remember Trudeaumania? I only barely do, but word of it did indeed get as far as us at the Manse here in Queensborough. And it was pretty cool.

Trudeaumania

Trudeaumania in 1968: Canadians were wild about this charismatic intellectual who’d emerged from Quebec. Those were heady times!

Anyway, the now-legendary (and not in a good way) TV ads that the Liberals ran showed lovely photos of Canada’s scenery, while in the background a female crooner languorously urged us to “Take time. Take care. The land is strong.”

It didn’t work. The Liberals lost their majority in Parliament, and only barely squeaked by the Conservatives. Meanwhile, the Land is Strong ad campaign was loudly mocked all across the country, by political commentators, comedians, and ordinary Canadians. And even today, it can – I hope; that’s why I made reference to it – draw a wry smile from those of us who remember.

But speaking of remembering it, I have an urgent question: How can it be possible that this now-iconic piece of Canadian political advertising is nowhere to be found on the internet? How can an outfit that will give you five billion cat videos at the touch of a button not be able to drum up those early-’70s images of Canada and the soothing singer’s voice assuring us the land is strong? It’s an outrage! Surely to goodness the CBC or somebody has a copy of that classic ad. Herewith my shoutout to whomever that may be: Cough it up! In the name of history!

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