Ads of the Week – Scottish referendum

by Stratton Craig

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Scotland may have voted ‘No’ to independence, but the strength of the Yes campaign’s support demonstrates the success of its promotions. Part of this involved the use of ad campaigns to reach the broad target audience, and in today’s post we explore the styles they used to engage greater numbers.
The Yes means… spot published on the Yes campaign’s YouTube account is clear evidence of this. It opens with shots of a young male in the highlands, an elderly male at home, a middle-aged businesswoman and a young female in her new home. The opening line sets the tone for the rest of the ad: “Independence, it’s what we all want in our lives, so why shouldn’t our country be independent too?”
It’s the first of numerous concise points that are arguably difficult to oppose, and what follows – “After all, Scotland is wealthy enough to afford it.” – is backed up by supporting figures, spoken as though they were audible bullet points. It then asks the viewer to “Just imagine what we could do with our vast wealth and resources?”, and promptly answers with further benefits.
This factually-rich theme is countered by the Our choice between two futures… video, which instead plays on the negativity surrounding the nation’s ties with the rest of the UK. It takes a simple approach, using the voiceover of a hypothetical girl named Kirsty due to be born on the day of the vote. She ponders “What kind of country will I grow up in?” and goes on to consider the pros of leaving and the cons of staying. “Will it be a Scotland that is fairer, more prosperous… a Scotland where I can reach my full potential? Or will it still be a country ruled by Westminster, a country that’s still the fourth most unequal in the developed world?” The piece ends on a rousing high, asking the viewer to “Put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands”.
Clearly the, ‘Our choice…’ ad is there to exploit the emotional aspect of the push for independence, while the ‘Yes means…’ promotion delivers the facts to really sell the point. When combined, they employ two traits always found with great copy – a compelling message and clear benefits.
The Yes campaign may not have achieved what they set out to, but it wasn’t because of poor communications. To boost your own, contact the team in the know.

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