Regardless of topic or client, in the process of campaigning, communication is key. Ads from opposing sides on Scottish Independence offer stellar examples of why this is true.
My favorite program to obtain news from is Last Week, Tonight. John Oliver’s show on Sept 14 provided a 15-minute analysis of the campaigns Yes Scotland — the group trying to persuade citizens to vote for independence — and Better Together — the group in favor of keeping Scotland as part of the United Kingdom. While both campaigns had their own particular issues with advertising and publicity, Better Together’s advertisement involving a middle-aged woman persuading the audience to vote “no” on Scottish independence garnered a different perception than anticipated.
In an attempt to create an unsure and uncertain tone around the thought of Scotland’s independence, the woman in the video does her best to lead a conversation with the audience that steers them in the direction of doubt as to what will happen if Scotland secedes from the UK. While many argue she successfully conveyed that tone, the ad generated backlash because of what it seems to overlook, sexist depiction of the female in society.
In an article, TheStar.com explains that just hours after the video was released, spoof videos were created in an attempt to mock the commercial. Instead of creating the unsure tone, the commercial portrayed a misogynist ideal that women are incapable of making tough, political decisions. A woman interviewed by the publication summarized the spot as, “completely outdated, sexist and insulting to women.”
While Better Together did eventually win, nobody credits it to good advertising.