David Cameron turns to Meerkats in bid to drive up Remain vote

Written by David Singleton on 9 June 2016 in Diary

The prime minister has urged advertising executives to vote to stay in the European Union.

David Cameron has called on marketing and advertising executives to vote against Brexit – by citing some of his favourite adverts.

The prime minister uses an article in the new edition of Campaign magazine to argue that the £20bn-a-year UK advertising industry would be at risk if Britain left the EU.

He states: "This country’s remarkable creative and cultural heritage, our appetite for entrepreneurship and innovation, and our willingness to embrace new ideas and digital technology are all reasons why the advertising and marketing industries are thriving. ‘Meerkats’, ‘Man on the moon’ and ‘Epic strut’ are just some of the ingenious ideas dreamed up by British advertising agencies in recent years that have helped to drive business success for their clients and build brands."

He adds that Brexit "really is a leap into the dark for a part of our economy that, right now, is shining bright".

The 'Meerkats' TV spots, from price comparison website Compare the Market, star fictional meerkat Aleksandr Orlov and his companions. The ads popularised the catchphrase ‘simples’, which was subsequently added to the Collins English Dictionary. Compare the Market has also used the meerkats for its sponsorship of Coronations Street.

'Man on the moon' was the 2015 Christmas advert from John Lewis and ‘Epic strut’ is the ad campaign for Moneysupermarket.com which shows a businessman strutting outdoors in hot pants and heels. The 'Epic strut' campaign was the most-complained about advert of last year, according to the Advertising Standards Authority.

In his article for Campaign, the weekly advertising and marketing title, Cameron concludes: "With just 14 days until the referendum, I urge the advertising and marketing sectors to make their voice heard. EU membership is good for British brands and for Brand Britain. So make sure you vote to remain on 23 June."

However industry sources suggested that Cameron might have his work cut out driving up turnout among advertising and marketing professionals on June 23 – because thousands of them will be holed up in the south of France for the global advertising jamboree known as the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.


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