The familiar chorus of Malcolm in the Middles theme song is surprisingly fitting in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. There is a rising tide of speculation in the sea of ambiguity as the levels uncertainty is at an all-time high as the UK sits in a negotiations deadlock with the EU.
But how has Great Britain found itself in the midst of a potential social and economic crises? One factor would be the outstanding Brexit PR campaign. Albeit that the facts may not have been entirely true, their simplistic, positive and punchy slogans resonated with the public.
Vote Leave, Take Back Control
The leave campaigns message was simple, clear, and most importantly evocative. “Let’s give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week”, a powerful statement that was backed with resilience and unity across the leave campaign. In contrast, Remain countered that families would be £4,300 pounds a year worse off as a result of Brexit. The negative and precise prediction, combined with the contradicting reports within Remain led to an ambiguous message, and ultimately led to the public being sceptical of their claims.
The Issue of Immigration.
When appealing to the voters, Nigel Farage utilised the sensitive issue of immigration as a key weapon in his arsenal. Playing on cultural and national identity, combined the complex issue of the Turkey potentially joining the EU. The poster behind the message came in for severe criticism, as the language and imagery was extremely questionable, if not borderline racist. The poster is concise and cinematic, focusing on taking back control, again. In contrast, the lack of direct power in relation to immigration hampered Remain.
There is no doubt that the personalities and heavy hitters of the two campaigns would play a vital role in the result of the referendum. When compared to a Hollywood movie, the leave campaign had a star-studded cast.
The Helper: Wanting only to be loved, solely looking to people please they give love and get it in return. The Helper is played by loveable comedic character of Boris Johnson, garnering support as he soldiered through the fields.
The Adventurer: Played by Nigel Farage, who looks for excitement propelling his rash statements. The sometimes loose-cannoned nature of forage could have led to a self-destructive campaign by doing his own thing, but this time aided his co-stars into a victory.
The Observer: Played by Michael Grove, brought class and intellect to orchestrate the campaigns messages together. As he appeared cool and wise when appearing on TV referendum specials.
The Villain: David Cameron, the ring leader of the previous governments who had been orchestrating the tough and harsh decisions of a recession. Can you blame people for being sick of listening to the voice of recent oppression, and rebelling against the then current regime?
It is evident that between the PR campaigns there was a clear winner. Whether or not the strategies used were ethical is a different question. However there is no doubt that the Brexit campaign schooled Remain, giving a PR masterclass in campaigning through effective slogans, imagery, its ambassadors and utilising their ability to convince the public with more definitive answers. Will the promised outcomes of a Brexit be kept? Yes? No? maybe? Actually, no one seems to know.