The ‘YES’ Campaign Won the Advertising Battle as well as the Referendum

Following one of the largest and most provocative publicity campaigns waged around a major social issue, Irish voters have given their reaction to the range of messages and media used by the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ camps.

A new survey commissioned by media agency, MediaCom Ireland, gauged the public reaction of potential voters just before and after they went to the polls on May 25th last.

45% of Irish adults over 18 felt that the ‘Yes Vote’ campaign was more appropriate – outscoring the 18% who rated the ‘No Vote’ campaign positively by a factor of over 2 to 1.

54% of adults felt that the advertising by the ‘No’ campaign was generally ‘inappropriate’ compared to the 24% who gave a ‘thumbs down’ to the ‘Yes’ messaging.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the highest level of approval of the ‘Yes’ publicity campaign came from younger potential voters – 18-24s (62%) and 25-34s (51%) most likely to deem the advertising for the ‘Yes’ campaign appropriate.  Those aged 55+ were least likely to deem the advertising for the ‘Yes’ campaign appropriate (34%). However, they were still much more likely to regard it as appropriate when compared with the ‘No’ campaign (21%).

18-24s (60%) were most likely to find the ‘No’ campaign somewhat inappropriate; whilst those aged 55+ (30%) were most likely to refer to the ‘Yes’ campaign as being somewhat inappropriate.

A wide variety of interest groups, political parties and the more neutral Referendum Commission undertook their own publicity drives across the last few weeks up to polling day and it is interesting to see who voters felt provided the clearest communication to voters.

According to the MediaCom research, the ‘Yes’ campaign was deemed to provide the clearest communication on the Referendum to help Irish adults make up their mind, followed by the Referendum Commission.  Those aged 18-34 were much more likely to cite the ‘Yes’ campaign, whilst those aged 55+ were much more likely to credit the Referendum Commission.

Ian McGrath, MD of MediaCom

“Publicity campaigns around hot social topics such the Eight Amendment provide an interesting way of gauging the public mood towards advertising that is beyond typical brand-related activity. Our research shows that in the eyes of many people, lines were crossed by some of the content and claims made by both camps. However, the ‘Yes’ activity was felt to be more acceptable to the majority of voters and the work done by the Referendum Commission was also highly credited.”


Lesley Kelleher, Director, Coyne Research

“The research we conducted with MediaCom around the Eight Amendment campaign is a good example of the type of social issue-related analysis that clients are increasingly interested in. Government and their agencies increasingly need to tap into the public mood so that they can assess the boundaries of what might be acceptable in public information campaigns.”


Research Background

The research was conducted for MediaCom Ireland by Coyne Research using their nationally representative online survey amongst 1,000 adults aged 18+ between conducted between May 23rd – 29th.

The Coyne Omnibus is a quota-controlled survey which quotas were set for age, gender, social class and region to ensure the sample was representative of the national population.

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