Sunday, July 03, 2016

A professional critique of the Remain campaign

Campaign, the trade magazine for the advertising industry, has been talking to some of the agencies who were asked to contribute to the Remain campaign in the recent referendum.

Its conclusion from the exercise is that
a clear picture emerges of an ineffectual, unfocused and strategically barren process led by a disjointed committee of cross-party middleweights.
One agency told the magazine:
"We were simply called upon to provide creative window-dressing, not political strategy. And because Stronger In had no political strategy, we had nothing to say. Of course we struggled to get our message across, because the real art is working out the message in the first place and we weren’t allowed to help with that." 
For example: "They knew voter turnout among young people would be a problem but they didn’t ask us to help solve that problem, so we were left drawing posters." 
And: "They had no creative nerve. Whenever we tried to take the gloves off, we were told to calm things down." So agencies were crippled from contributing at any meaningful level.
When Remain leadership appointed itself in July last year this blog asked: "Is this the best the pro-European forces in Britain can do?"


Julian said...

As someone in the industry, and having experienced with the ways Politicians mess up simple direct communication campaigns. I think the agencies are being somewhat polite. The Remain campaign was focussed on fear not a positive message to combat the deep emotional desire for reasserting control. Fear made leave stronger. It also missed the point staring us in the face for the last 20 years. Millions of people feel that politics is an elite club that has ignored them. Benefiting the few. We benefited from this up until 2005.

Kiron Reid said...

Thanks for sharing Jonathan. I think this critique smarts "a disjointed committee of cross-party middleweights."
This critique is compelling, from Saatchi: "We came up with a strategy based around ‘Don’t leave it, lead it’ but they didn’t run with it."
Chief Executive of "Adam & Eve/DDB, says his agency had also wanted to focus on positive messaging, presenting Remain as offering the best of both worlds (inside the EU but with special status)"
Stronger In’s agenda was almost unrelentingly negative"
"They knew voter turnout among young people would be a problem but they didn’t ask us to help solve that problem"

Some of the advice and criticism is contradictory, basically we wanted to talk to senior politicians / no we didn't; we wanted a clear message - no they should just have listened to us; we wanted to be positive / we were blocked from being negative about senior Tories; and some basically says pay us loads of money to tell you what to do, but it is a very good clear article.