The quality and variation of the Yes! campaign’s campaigning materials, adverts and posters has been far superior to that of the Better Together campaign throughout the referendum period.
The Yes! campaign brief of ‘sell anger towards a Tory-led coalition and hope for the future of an independent Scotland’ is a more creatively fertile proposition than that of Better Together’s ‘sell the fear of break-up and the maintenance of the status quo’.
Nevertheless, it’s one thing to have a great brief and quite another to deliver against it as thoroughly as they have. If it was down to the campaigning materials alone, the Yes! campaign would be starting the victory party already.
The volume of campaigning material coming out of Scotland and beyond is absolutely huge.
Here’s a small selection highlighting a few of the approaches that the Better Together campaign have taken in their communications.
Whilst there are some solid bits in there, the No campaign have struggled to come up with an inspiring visual language or tone of voice that runs through their campaign.
Sorry mate, don’t mean to embarrass you, but…er… your strategy is showing
The Better Together campaign have released a referendum broadcast that tries to appeal to undecided female voters.
It features a mother talking to the camera about her concerns for an independent Scotland: the security of Scotland’s oil supply, funding for education, the way “there’s only so many hours in the day and there’s so much to weigh up”.
The script wreaks of inauthenticity – it lists every single Better Together line of attack without breath. It’s so obviously aimed at undecided female voters that it feels terribly awkward. If the average viewer’s initial reaction to seeing your comms is “ah, I can see what you’re doing there pal” rather than some level of emotional gut response, you’ve completely ballsed it up.
And the characterisation is fairly patronising – the lead woman is mainly concerned about household tasks and complains that it’s her husband who cares about politics. It’s this latter element that has led to something of a twitter storm using #PatronisingBTLady
H/T to @frances_ryan for sending
Today sees the launch of a UK-wide campaign called Let’s Stay Together which aims to give a voice to everyone who doesn’t have a vote in the decision to break up Britain, but wants to try to influence the vote in favour of Union.
The campaign’s aim is to get pro-union people from across the UK, who don’t have a vote in the referendum, to publicly state online, and maybe even in real life, that “Scotland is part of our UK family and I want us to stay together”.
The launch piece of content uses Queen’s ‘You’re My Best Friend’ as a soundtrack and features celebrities from all over the UK including: Tanni Grey-Thompson, Eddie Izzard, Ross Kemp, Ian Rush, June Sarpong, Dan Snow, Susannah Constantine and Trinny Woodall.
The video is wonderfully upbeat and is markedly different in tone from much of the Better Together campaign.
The video and wider campaign cleverly gives license for people from across the whole of the UK to have their say in the referendum. It is carefully respectful of the fact that it is the right of the Scots to decide whether to remain in the union. But the video will give confidence to those who might have worried about articulating their positive feelings about the UK to speak out and let Scotland know that they do care about the future of the country and want the jocks as part of it.
And whilst I’m at it, I may as well compliment them on their snazzy logo, very nice:
The Better Together campaign in Scotland have this week released the above billboard.
Having received widespread criticism for running a negative campaign, Better Together have clearly decided that some positive posters are the order of the day.
I think this is a mistake.
It is the role of challengers to sell anger about the status quo – something which the Yes campaign have been doing to no small degree, albeit occasionally blended with messaging around hope.
However, it is the role of the incumbent to sell fear of change. If they fancy sticking some ‘there’s still so much to do’ in there for good measure, fine. But the fear should be non-negotiable.
Better Together should not allow themselves to be put off course by the Yes campaign’s complaints about the tone of their campaign. When polling day comes, it will not be vanilla, forgettable copy and imagery like the above which will make the electorate think twice about putting a cross in the ‘yes’ box.
Over the last week the Yes Scotland campaign released a nationwide poster campaign.
The thing that excites me most about political posters is that the good ones tend to distil the key issues down to only a handful of words.
There’s no room for caveats or hedged bets.
With political posters you’re spending huge amounts of hard-earned campaign funds to get the chance to deliver the most compelling version of your argument that you can.
These posters convey the sense of optimism, hope and ambition that the Yes campaign is becoming famous for. They don’t get bogged down in the details of policy; the posters make big, bold statements in simple, motivating language.
The final poster above, with the headline “don’t let them tell us we can’t”, is the one that nationalist advocates will doubtless have stuck in their windows and plastered on their Facebook wall.
Rumour has it that the Better Together campaign are currently in research with their first major advertising campaign. As it is so often the case that those pushing for the status quo are in the business of selling fear, my bet is that they will be in a very different territory to this bonnie offering.
The Yes to Scottish Independence campaign have released this nicely art directed piece of communication.
The real challenge with creating communications for the independence referendum is to deliver a simple message when the issues are often relatively complex constitutional matters.
This image nicely conveys the broad emotive sentiment of the Yes campaign which is “our future should be in our hands”. It doesn’t get bogged down in the detail of currency unions, tax relief on savings or EU ascension.
The Yes Campaign obviously don’t feel they’re at the stage where wavering voters will respond well to communications which don’t at least pretend to be ‘giving information about the vote’. But I wonder how much longer until they ditch any pretence at rational information giving and go purely for the gushy stuff.