EU Referendum

Ad breakdown: Britain Stronger In Europe broadcast

Britain Stronger in Europe broadcast Image copyright Britain Stronger in Europe

Britain Stronger In Europe - whose campaign has been dubbed "project fear" by its critics for its warnings of doom if we leave the EU - has gone all cutesy and soft focus.

The star of its first referendum broadcast, aired on Tuesday night, is 14-month-old Sam. Here he is pulling on a yellow hard hat - just like fellow Remain campaigner George Osborne does in all those photo opportunities at building sites - and now he's reaching out to touch the camera lens, a picture of childlike innocence and wonder. This is not so much Project Fear as Project Aaah....

What's all this got to do with the whether Britain should remain a member of a 28 nation trading bloc, you might ask.

Well, Sam likes to play with toy diggers - but his dreams of driving one when he grows up are at risk if we vote to leave the EU it seems.

"If we remain in Europe, there will be more opportunity for our children to follow their dreams and make the most out of life," says the soothing female voiceover, as the nursery scene of Sam playing with his digger dissolves into a shot of a real life digger. We are then treated to a montage of workers sharing a joke as they get on with building and making things.

Image copyright Britain Stronger in Europe
Image copyright Britain Stronger in Europe

All this is at risk if we don't voter to stay in the EU on the 23 June the voiceover says. You might have expected footage of an adult Sam slumped on a sofa watching daytime TV because the economy has collapsed.

But no, this is the softest of soft sells - very different to the hard-hitting, high-concept broadcast unveiled on Monday night by Vote Leave, which Ad Breakdown reviewed here.

But it does have one thing in common with the Vote Leave film - the freedom to repeat some of the more contentious claims being made by its makers, safe in the knowledge that they won't be challenged.

The first stat that slides into view in the Remain broadcast is the claim - questioned by the BBC's Reality Check among others - that three million jobs are linked to Britain's membership of the EU.

There is also the infamous - to Leave campaigners - Treasury claim that leaving the EU would cost every household £4,300 a year, which appears against a black background for added emphasis.

Image copyright Britain Stronger in Europe

We return to Sam in the closing sequence, this time in thought-provoking slow motion as he toddles around the garden with his adoring family. Voting remain will secure a "stronger future for Sam and everyone you know," says the voiceover. And that's it. No warnings, no threats.

You can never go far wrong in advertising with a cute baby, although this broadcast is so inoffensive, there is a danger that it won't hold the viewers' attention. Five minutes is a long time to watch what begins to look increasingly like a promotional video for a further education college.

It is trying to put the positive, optimistic case for remaining in Europe, something Britain Stronger in Europe's critics say has been in short supply in its campaign to date. Whether it will remain in the memory until polling day is another question.

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