Startling research shows the Yes campaign’s fatal mistake that’s sinking support

Startling new research has revealed the extent of the Yes campaign’s failure to convince Australians to support the proposed Voice to Parliament.

Market research firm Pollinate probed the success of the recently released John Farnham-backed advertisement, finding it had more of an adverse effect than a positive one.

“If the strategic objective of the ‘You’re the Voice’ campaign was to get people to consider voting yes, it has failed,” Pollinate CEO Howard Parry-Husbands said.

Findings of its market research show 34 per cent of those planning said the ad “reinforced their voting plans” while 66 per cent of undecided voters said it “has not influenced them” at all.

Worse, the Pollinate study found 16 per cent of undecided felt “more confused” after seeing the ad.

“Advertising is meant to lead to changes in behaviour or attitudes,” Mr Parry-Husbands said.

“If anything, this ad has seen a hardening of opinions. It’s made No voters more likely to vote no and left undecided voters as confused as ever.”

With less than three weeks left until Australians vote on the referendum, the Yes campaign should be worried about its inability to win support, he said.

“When you dig a little deeper into the research about Australian culture, you begin to understand why the Yes campaign isn’t working.”

Consistent and long-running market research about the attitudes of Australian consumers reveals a number of common characteristics, he said.

Some of the attributes that define Australians, based on market research, are that we have a low ability to think long-term. We like the here and now.”

According to market research data, Australia’s long-term orientation score is 21 points out of a possible 100. That compares to the United Kingdom’s score of 51 and China’s of 87.

“At the same time, Australia has a relatively high uncertainty avoidance. We prefer to have certainty.”

And research shows Aussies are individualistic when it comes to making tough choices, with an individualism score of 90 out of 100.

“We don’t like uncertainty, we like short-term thinking, we don’t like change and we don’t like being told what to do,” Mr Parry-Husbands said.

Award-winning advertising agency The Hallway has created its own two-minute campaign encouraging people to “have a better conversation about the Voice to Parliament”.

The video, titled ‘Don’t Listen to the Galahs’, was spearheaded by prominent adman Simon Lee, who grew frustrated about the effectiveness of the Yes campaign’s efforts.

“If you’re a no voter, you’ve got someone shouting at you to vote yes, and if you’re a yes voter, you’re being shouted at about why you’re wrong,” Mr Lee, Chief Creative Officer at The Hallway said.

“There’s no room left in the middle for a rational and reasonable debate. We felt we needed to promote that middle ground.”

The debate so far has been light on “reasonable, respectful and informed discussion” and Mr Lee believes both sides have engaged in damaging vitriol.

He agreed the outcome of the ‘You’re the Voice’ ad campaign are “not good”.

“It’s had an adverse effect. I found the ad very emotionally powerful, but it does have an underlying message that it would be unAustralian to not vote yes.

“I can totally understand why they went down that emotional route but the results clearly show that it’s not what was needed. People want clarity, not a cuddle.”

Mr Parry-Husbands said The Hallway’s creative is “outstanding” because it calmly and clearly talks through some of the uncertainties voters have.

Its uses Australia’s most iconic animals, the kangaroo and the emu, which adorn our coat of arms, tuning out the noise from squawking galahs above to have a respectful discussion based on fact.

“It highlights the noise and alarm being whipped up, it draws on iconic symbols, the message is clear and reasonable, and most of all, it’s not judgmental,” he said.

“It’s the sort of campaign that’s needed by the Yes campaign. It should have lots of airtime.”

For now, it will run across social media, with Mr Lee hoping it’s shared organically.

The Hallway is also in discussions with media owners about securing some free space to run cut-downs of the creative, he said.

“I don’t think it’s too late for the Yes campaign to change gears. It’s not over until all Australians have cast their votes.

“I think there’s probably a significant portion of the population who want real answers. They want their concerns dealt with and they want to understand.

“The most effective course of action is to get people to stop, deal with the facts, have quality conversations, and come to a reasonable and informed position.

“We need Australian to not listen to the galahs.”

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