No you can

As any parent knows, a good way to get a kid to eat their dinner is to insist they do the opposite. I once did an NLP course, and encountered the same phenomenon described as ‘the embedded command’.

In a similar vein, there’s a fascinating game of marketing cat-and-mouse being played out north of the border. At the moment, the ‘No’ campaign is getting pelters for being too negative. The media, and perhaps to some extent the public, appear to have bought into this proposition. It’s negative, that means it’s bad. You tell us No, we’ll do Yes.

This is interesting. Apart from the clue being in the name (‘Vote No’), it makes you wonder what else they could have said.

I’ve variously noted ‘warnings’ that Scotland will lose the Pound Sterling, EU membership, a decent credit rating, the Queen, RBS, HBOS, Standard Life, the Royal Navy warship orders, English tourism, RSPB funding, Nicky Campbell, MI5, MI6, the BBC, HS2, British citizenship, and Scotch whisky (work that one out).

Now some in this list may not be mourned – but the emerging zeitgeist begs the question: should they have been saying ‘just look at what Scotland gets to keep!

Ninety years ago, using an A/B split, John Caples demonstrated that positive outcomes comprehensively whupped their negative or inconclusive counterparts in ads. You’d think someone in ‘Better Together’ would have asked a marketer.