Why couldn't adland sell Bremain to the public?
A view from Paul Burke

Why couldn't adland sell Bremain to the public?

With such a superior product, writes Paul Burke, how could the strategy for selling it go so spectacularly wrong?

I voted Remain. Of course I did. I wanted the pluralist benefits of the EU for myself, my family and my country

So too did most people in our industry but, partly because of a few of them, none of us will ever enjoy those benefits again.

I’m referring to those among us who took to social media denouncing anyone who might vote leave as racist, ignorant Little Englanders. Of some Brexiteers, this was undoubtedly true. But of the vast majority, it wasn’t.

Many were concerned about the plight of fellow citizens in other parts of the UK. Others were alarmed by Jean Claude Juncker’s refusal, on the morning of the referendum, to offer any EU reform. Most simply wanted their laws made by those democratically elected to do so.

But no, according to a spiteful slew of Facebook and Twitter posts, anyone voting "Out" was as stupid as pig dribble.

Did these trolls learn nothing from the last election? They were all over social media then, smearing anyone not voting Labour as "Tory Scum"? That went well, didn’t it? Dear God, these people work in advertising.

They’re supposed to know how to convey clear, engaging reasons to buy their product. Instead they just insulted those considering buying their competitor’s.

Some of them got behind a patronising and sinister initiative known as Call Your Nan. This encouraged young people to bully elderly relatives into changing their votes. Nice. And if that didn’t work, what was next? Kill Your Nan?

With such a superior product, how could they have got their strategy for selling it so spectacularly wrong? Alienating the very people they should have been persuading. Who knows how many undecided voters, disturbed by this invective, recoiled and voted Leave?

The result, as we all know, was so close that a few more converted voters would have tipped the balance. And we wouldn’t now be facing such grave economic uncertainty. So can I just say to these people, from all your colleagues in adland who also wanted to remain, thanks a bunch.

Paul Burke runs his own consultancy and used to be a creative at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO