6 Jun 2014

Scottish referendum: M&C Saatchi tackles ‘no’ ad campaign

The advertising gurus behind the controversial “Labour Isn’t Working” adverts have been recruited to construct a campaign to help keep Scotland in the union.

M&C Saatchi are expected to unveil a number of new marketing approaches for the no campaign on Monday, one includes the slogan “No thanks”.

Despite maintaining a lead in the polls, the Better Together group has been under pressure to change the tone of its campaigning as the yes vote has grown in recent months.

‘Independence isn’t working?’

The ad-agency was founded by brothers Maurice, a Conservative peer, and Charles Saatchi after they were ousted from Saatchi & Saatchi in the early eighties.

Their then little known ad-agency changed the landscape of political advertising with their epoch-making ad which depicted a dole queue with the slogan “Labour Isn’t Working”.

M&C Saatchi were employed by the Conservatives in the 2010 election where they adopted a similar style, portraying Gordon Brown as weak on crime. The former prime minister has recently taken on a more prominent role in the Better Together campaign making speeches on fiscal matters.

‘Wealth of experience’

Rob Shorthouse, director of communications for Better Together, said: “We are delighted to have the team at M&C Saatchi join the campaign. They bring with them a wealth of experience of working on campaigns for political parties of many hues.

“Throughout the pitch process they demonstrated incredible creativity, but also a passion about, and commitment to, our cause. Like the majority of people in Scotland, they don’t want to see the United Kingdom broken up.”

A Yes Scotland spokesman said: “The fact that the no campaign has hired Margaret Thatcher’s favourite PR people, who helped usher in 18 years of Tory government that the people of Scotland rejected, shows just how out of touch they have become with the values and priorities of Scotland.

“Saatchis are forever associated with the Westminster political establishment – and the truth is that Westminster isn’t working for Scotland.”

In response, Rob Shorthouse said:

“The campaign is such that we want the best people working on it, and now we’ve got them.

“The response is absolutely indicative of the Yes campaign – they’re stuck in the past and all they care about is grievance politics.”