21 JUNE 1975, Page 25


Riding the Euro-wave

Philip Kleinman

"Yes to Europe, Yes to Bloggs's Baked Beans." Well, I must admit no bright advertising spark came Iv with those particular words in the aftermath of the Referendum, but some advertisers came pretty near it. How's this for a headline, from a financial ad which appeared during the weekend following the vote? "YES to Europe, to Growth, to Target International Fund."

After applauding the referendum result, the 'body copy' went on to state: "It is sensible to invest at least some of one's capital on a worldwide basis. Any country can experience a period of economic difficulty during which its currency is likely to be weak and liable to be devalued, Or again, a country can become a less rewarding home for capital than many others owing to changes in taxation, political or economic policies."

Clever of them to get it in the newspapers while the topic was still burning hot. Obviously the copy was prepared before the result was known, and one wonders in what form the ad would have run — or if it would have run at all — had the result been a 'No' victory.

But I am sorry that the directors of the Fund, who include the Right Honourable the Lord Alport, did not see fit to publish their advice the day before the Referendum. It was so peculiarly honest about the wisdom of getting one's money out of Britain (though this country was not referred to by name) that it would have helped to strengthen my resolve to follow the advice of Tribune (not to mention The Spectator) and vote 'No' as a gesture of protest against the activities of the Right Honourable Lord and all his Right Honourable likes.

The same goes for the ads placed by Knight Frank and Rutley, with a huge YES in the headline, and Henderson European Trust ("Invest in Europe, the market you voted for"). Another headline YES introduced a more discreetly worded ad for Barclays Unicorn Financial Trust. "With the uncertainties of the referendum out of the way, the long-term prospects for British industry should be brighter." Well, it's nice to know someone thinks so, even if Hendersons explicitly doesn't.

Of the general advertisers I noticed only two who used the Referendum as a topical peg. Both were car manufacturers, and both wisely avoided any comment on the actual issue at stake. Vauxhall ran a newspaper ad saying "We don't know how motoring correspondents voted on the Common Market but they all had a common view on the Chevette. They liked it."

On the very day of the referendum Ford took space in a number of papers for an ad headed "And now the Common Market's verdict on us." it continued: "In a word it's a resounding 'Yes' for the Ford Escort." In April, according to the ad, the Escort outsold every other car in the EEC.

This was more than neat, it was a piece of very effective advertising, which I presume to have been produced by Collett Dickenson Pearce, the agency which resigned the Ford account recently after a policy clash with the client.

I was surprised that more agencies didn't jump on the referendum bandwagon

The daftest attempt to cash in on the Referendum took the form of a full page ad in the Financial Times by Central Lancashire Development Corporation. It was headed: "Now you're a confirmed European take advantage of being British." Optimistically it declared: "Overseas businessmen will see that geography and motorways have combined to make the new town of Central Lancashire the

ideal centre from which to reach every major market."

Tell it to Lord Alport, lads, and see what he says.