So who's behind the AV PR campaigns?

Advertising's influence over political campaigns hasn't been in doubt since Saatchi & Saatchi's brilliant "Labour Isn't Working" posters, which delivered the 1979 election to Margaret Thatcher.

Labour had its revenge in 1997 with a TV ad that showed smug Conservatives at party conference alongside the warning "Just Imagine What Would Happen If the Tories Got in Again".

The Yes campaign handed its £4m advertising brief to Iris, a relatively young London agency led by Paul Bainsfair, one of the best-known figures in British advertising.

Iris fought off competition from better-known agencies Mother and Leagas Delaney to win the business.

Bainsfair is a former chairman of TBWA and managing director of Saatchi & Saatchi in its Eighties heyday when it represented the Tories.

Iris, which also works for London 2012 and the Football Association, landed the Yes contract after winning plaudits for its work for the Liberal Democrats – big supporters of the Yes campaign – at the last election. The campaign mocked the similarities of the two rival parties by branding them as the "Labservatives", a phrase which caught on and became a trending topic on Twitter.

Ironically, the Liberal Democrats now find themselves in the Coalition Government with the Tories.

In the No corner is the award-winning Edinburgh advertising agency Family, which has been heavily involved in political work north of the border and includes the SNP and the Scottish Government among its client roster.

It represented the Scottish Conservatives in the 2001 election, producing ads which mocked the then Prime Minister as "Bliar".

Controversially, the No campaign has already published advertisements showing a screaming, new-born baby, with the message: "She needs a maternity unit NOT an alternative voting system." The image was accompanied by the line: "Say No to spending £250m on AV."

The Yes campaign complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the latter claim was untrue, but the regulator has no remit for political campaigns. "I thought it was disappointing, it was based on a falsehood," said Bainsfair.

He said the Yes campaign would not be launching its ads until the final two weeks of the campaign. "There's not a great deal to be gained from advertising too far ahead. People have got other things on their minds."

The No campaign has hired a separate agency, Message Space, a London-based digital specialist which has previously worked with all three of the main political parties and the Electoral Reform Society.

Tomorrow, it will launch a new video campaign which will warn voters that AV will give a stronger voice to extremist parties. The videos will be seeded in social media sites.

Closer to Referendum Day the No campaign will begin an electronic billboard campaign that will seek to emulate the success of the "My David Cameron" digital posters, where internet users were encouraged to mock the Conservative leader by creating their own versions of official posters.

Funding is likely to be a critical influence over the success, or otherwise, of both campaigns, and yesterday both sides insisted to The Independent they were working at a financial disadvantage to their opponents.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£35-45K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer / Web ...

Recruitment Genius: Full Time and Part Time Digital Designer - North Kent

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful web design/deve...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders