I received some interesting post through the mailbox today. And by interesting I mean, interesting if you’re in anyway enthused about politics and the upcoming referendum for Alternative Vote and/or marketing in general.
On 5th May in the UK, the British people will be voting on whether to adopt the Alternative Vote (AV) system, over the current ‘first past the post’. There are a lot of arguments as to whether this is a good or bad idea, and I’m currently undecided. I feel I should admit that now, because otherwise this seems very anti-Yes to AV.
The letter I received through the post looking official, was marked ‘Private and confidential, Important papers enclosed’, addressed directly to me and I could spot a little bit of purple on the letter. The purple is relevant because the Yes to AV camp has cleverly chosen a purple hue similar to that used by the census, which is doing the rounds at the same-ish time.
Direct mail is an underutilised marketing technique and sending something addressed to the occupant is more likely to get read that just a leaflet with the post. Fair enough, good marketing plan. Encouraging people to vote, particularly by reminding people of the postal vote is a nice touch, although the Vote Yes poster was a little much in my opinion.
But what strikes me a little underhand is the way that this has been carried out. Nothing in this was private or confidential, and the similarities in colour to the census could alarm people, particularly as the fines for not handing in your census are £1,000 (admittedly for all of a minute before they opened it, but still). Maybe that’s what they were going for, if so it’s somewhat in bad taste, particularly given all the stick the No to AV camp received for scare tactics. Although they’re not quite suggesting voting no would deprive babies or anything, it doesn’t strike me as the best idea, if only as it could anger people who were worried about the census. And no one wants to worry about private and confidential information, when it’s just marketing.
Oh and I’m off to a debate tomorrow about AV, so maybe I’ll make up my mind…