An undecided voter surprised me today by producing the Scotland Votes pamphlet produced by the Electoral Commission who are overseeing the voting in the referendum and have been distributing this pamphlet to all the households in the land, with the objective of encouraging everyone to vote in this referendum. This is indeed a noble and worthwhile objective.
But as they produced this pamphlet, what happened next surprised me..
They said, “close your eyes, now open them”, as they opened up the pamphlet in the middle..
They then said to me, “What is the word that jumps out at you?”
The word was NO
The part the pamphlet had been opened at had a page on the YES campaign to the left, and a page by better together on the right.
The YES page had a small YES logo, the Better Together page had a large NO thanks logo which dwarfed the YES on the other page, and immediately drew your eye to it……Try it for yourself, and see what you think?
Another friend of mine pointed out the following after I had described this,saying the following “It’s also a publishing layout, think of newspapers and magazines, the adverts are always on the left because your eyes are automatically drawn to the right hand side. Clever marketing will ensure the advert of their client will be on the right side to gain maximum exposure. I did it for years.”
It was also pointed out to me that the YES page looked more like an advert for the NHS, while the NO page overshadowed the YES page entirely, and it was the page that you focused on, to the extent that you might well ignore the YES page entirely…
This is rather concerning coming in a pamphlet that is meant to be entirely neutral and not in any way showing favour to either side.
One good thing, this formerly undecided voter has now decided for YES!