Sticky language

DIY recession stronger in

I’ve just come across this graphic that was released on Monday of this week, the same day that David Cameron and George Osborne wrote an article for the Daily Telegraph warning that Brexit would put the British economy in serious danger.

I’m sharing it because I thought both the article and the accompanying graphic included a brilliant piece of ‘sticky’ messaging and is an example of the sort of language that provides the ideal springboard for developing creative communications.

If you read the excerpt below, the first two paragraphs are decidedly standard. They use the sort of language and terminology that one would expect from a politician making an argument.

However, the final paragraph takes the straight information and gives it a twist so that it speaks to the audience in a language they can relate to.

“The analysis produced by the Treasury today shows that a vote to leave will push our economy into a recession that would knock 3.6 per cent off GDP and, over two years, put hundreds of thousands of people out of work right across the country, compared to the forecast for continued growth if we vote to remain in the EU.

In a more severe shock scenario, Treasury economists estimate that our economy could be hit by 6 per cent, there would be a deeper recession and unemployment would rise by even more.

This would be, for the first time in our history, a recession brought on ourselves: a DIY recession.”

The phrase ‘DIY recession’ conjures up vivid imagery and perhaps personal associations that should result in better retention of the information.

This language is useful for communicating with the public, but it is also helpful for creative teams developing further ideas for posters, videos and leaflets.

The graphic developed by Stronger In is solid enough, but it wouldn’t surprise me if M&C Saatchi are beavering away at creating something which makes the point in a more evocative and newsworthy way.

Vote Leave’s new poster uses Turkey as a bogeyman

Vote Leave - Turkey is joining the EU - poster

Vote Leave have released a poster depicting a passport as an open door alongside the claim that Turkey is joining the EU.  The stated intention behind the poster is that it aims to highlight to the electorate the additional number of people who might legally migrate to the UK if Turkey was allowed to join.

The poster is a follow-up to a video released two days prior which accused David Cameron of being duplicitous about the likelihood of Turkey joining the EU.

Vote Leave have thus far struggled to establish a bogeyman for their campaign.  You can read about why that might be here.

But the fact that they’ve done a few bits on Turkey suggests to me that their research shows that a proportion of floating voters would lean towards Leave if they were told that the secular middle eastern republic would join the EU in the short to medium term. In short, they’re testing the waters of making Turkey their bogeyman.

This is the first time that Vote Leave have deployed a poster about immigration.  The fear of accusations of racism is surely the only reason for the hesitation, as poll after poll shows that immigration is a top issue for voters and that those who favour limiting it highly correlate with those likely to vote Leave.

Some are indeed accusing the poster of deploying racist dog-whistle tactics, rather than raising legitimate concerns around immigration numbers, but whether Vote Leave stick with this line of attack will depend on poll numbers not headlines.

Previously the Vote Leave campaign had been pushing a message, requiring a fair amount of mental gymnastics, around spending the money we’d save from EU membership on the NHS (see poster below).

The Vote Leave strategy up until now must have been based on the assumption that they wouldn’t win 51% of votes cast with an immigration-only message.  As they judge that to be the case, they’ve been trying to add to their supporter base those who care deeply about the NHS.

It will be interesting to see if this Turkey activity is the first evidence of Vote Leave giving up on their coalition-building agenda and shifting their focus towards what most people assumed, prior to the campaign, would be their core message.




Risky business

What can we expect from EU referendum campaigns

I wrote an article at the beginning of February for advertising industry magazine Campaign anticipating what the EU referendum campaigns might look like.  You can read the full post here (just making it easy for y’all to hold me ruthlessly to account for my predictive chuntering).

Here’s a couple of tweets from some key ‘leave’ leaders that illustrate that ‘project fear’ isn’t limited to the ‘remain’ campaign.



German Green Party ad: The common snail

Here’s a very funny (and angry) ad for the Green Party that is currently running in Germany in advance of their general election that takes places in less than a month.

It features a fake naturalist discussing the common snail and intersperses the film with footage of the ruling CDU/FDP government lazing around parliament and generally looking foolish.

Here’s a short excerpt of the voice over:

As they linger in their natural resting place we can see that, due to their lack of spines, they do not orient themselves with an inner compass but just point their feelers whichever way the wind is blowing.

There’s a lot of care and attention to detail that has gone into the production.  The set of the naturalist’s office is well-crafted and the character gives a great performance.  The black and white imagery of the government contrasts brilliantly with the dull muted tones of the office and helps create a good sense of urgency and distress in the attack ad.

There’s a good round up of campaign advertising currently on air in Germany available on this post on the FT (thanks to @chchristiaens for sending).