5 Communication Lessons from the £9 Million EU Referendum Leaflet

Have you seen the leaflet?

And have you ever wondered what £9 million buys you from a marketing agency nowadays?

Print and distribution will take a healthy slice for this job no doubt. But there will still be a nice wedge left in there for consultancy, copy writing, print and design.

1.The government is realistic about its power (or lack of it) to influence us.

Splashing £9 million pounds on one tactic feels a bit desperate. The EU debate has raged for a couple of months. Both camps have enjoyed a ridiculous amount of air time. And yet, still, they are not confident of there ability to authentically reach us with their message without buying our attention (£9 million-worth of it) too. If they can’t get their message across with so much air time, what chance do the rest of us have?! I think it reminds us all of how disconnected we are with politicians of all parties.

The budget also reinforces the importance of the vote.

2. Headline

The front page headline reads:

Why the Government believes that voting to remain in the European Union is the best decision for the UK.

A bit long? Possibly. This is no doubt the front page is the most important part of the leaflet. The likelihood is that many recipients won’t even bother to read the rest of it.

You could argue that a well-chosen image might have been more successful at encouraging people to pick it up and read it? But, the copy-only approach, distinguishes it from other marketing collateral landing on door mats and communicates a level of gravitas.

In marketing circles, most long sentences reveal the need to appease lots of competing priorities. On this occasion, my hunch is that they compromised on brevity to communicate the importance of two key messages:

  • Stay in Europe
  • Vote! Just agreeing is not good enough.

3. White space, large font and three columns

Irrespective of the content, the  copy style exudes calm authority, and clarity of thinking.  You’ll see a similar design beginning to influence websites such as Medium to help us focus is on the content in a world of pop ups and competing interruptions. The three columns aid readability too. It’s a classic newsprint format but also mimics the number of words you typically read on a smartphone optimised website?

4. Easily identifiable images to reinforce, and connect with, the key messages

If anyone does look beyond the front page, the chances are they’ll only look at the pictures. Each picture includes a brief caption which, together, summarises the key messages. In fact, if you read them in succession, it’s like a standalone Classic agency approach to representing all ethnicities in the images.

5. It’s short

Brevity in the face of ever-decreasing attention spans, is a massively under-rated marketing tactic. Perhaps this blog post would’ve benefited from it?!




Richard Glynn will help you stand out, build influence and become easier to buy from.
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