13 Jul 2016 18:48 IST

How Brexit and brands used each other

Who wanted to 'Remain' and who wanted to 'Leave'?

While Brexit/Bremain came in handy for some brands to use in their marketing campaigns, some brands came in handy for supporters and opponents of the cause. Unilever, GE, Nissan, Airbus, Toyota and Vauxhall are some of the names the official Vote Leave campaign used in a pamphlet.

Nissan, which wants Britain to remain in the EU, announced last week that it was issuing legal proceedings to stop Vote Leave from using its name and logo. Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said the company would prefer it if the UK remained in the EU and that it was committed to its current investment decisions, but that it was a matter for the British to decide.

The chief executives of Unilever, GE and Airbus wrote to Vote Leave condemning its use of their logos in a ‘propaganda’ campaign. All these companies are for the UK staying in the EU. They said it was “highly misleading” and an act of bad faith to them. Unilever has said it will not cut UK operations if the UK voted to leave but chief executive Paul Polman believed that Britain should stay.

Britten-Norman, a British manufacturer of civil aircraft, was criticised for flying a plane with a Vote Leave banner over a memorial in London to Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered a week ahead of the vote. Vote Leave denied having commissioned it. The aircraft maker apologised and said it had not been warned of the event at Trafalgar Square. Ryanair went all out offering ‘Brexit Special’ fares of €19.99 on June 22 and June 23 for overseas voters who were flying home to vote “remain”. The Vote Leave campaign charged the airline, which backs the Remain campaign, with bribery. Scotland Yard is investigating. Ryanair capitalised on the referendum result to run another campaign. It urged customers travelling in October-December, to ‘Save like Dave’ (UK Prime Minister David Cameron) and ‘Plan an autumn escape’ by offering a 24-hour sale on one million seats from prices as low as £9.99 for certain flights because, “just like the Brits, they’ll be gone very soon!”

Tinder and Uber did not take sides but urged young people to learn more and register for the vote. It is widely believed these campaigns were part of the UK Government’s strategy to get millennials voting as studies showed they were in favour of the UK remaining in the EU.