UK brands keep their cool for the general election

In this day and age, it’s expected that brands will piggy-back on something important — like an election, for instance. But UK brands are keeping the #ElectionDay riffing light.

In the run-up to election day, brands like airline Ryanair, frozen foods company Birds’ Eye, and Smirnoff came out with clever campaigns that skewered the partisanship and bloviating politicians. But on Thursday, the day of the election, things are quiet.

Almost too quiet.

Tensions were running high Thursday because no main political party — Labour, Tory, Liberal Democrat, or Green — had a clear majority. This was also the case during the 2010 general election, which resulted in a hung parliament and a Conservative-Liberal Democrats coalition that has left many voters, especially young Brits, feeling shortchanged. The results are expected to start coming in early Friday, U.K. time.

In light of the uncertainty, major UK brands have been treading lightly Thursday. Home goods store John Lewis and supermarkets Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have stayed mum. Retailers like Harvey Nichols and Topshop have taken the same approach. So has The Body Shop. Bookseller Waterstone’s (whose Oxford Street branch is Twitter-famous), glasses store Specsavers, and travel-booking site lastminute.com had some quippy and subtle takes to lighten the mood, but essentially play it too safe:

(Labour’s color is red, the Conservatives are blue, Lib Dems are yellow, Greens are…green.)

Innocent fruit drinks played it safest of all — jumping on the bandwagon of the popular hashtag #DogsAtPollingStations, currently the number one Twitter trend in the UK.

Modern vintage clothier Cath Kidston also kept it cute with canines:

One of the few serious contributions came from Amnesty International’s UK branch, which took today as an opportunity to remind followers that the right to vote is enshrined in the Human Rights Act:


When the future of the British government seems this unclear, it’s a sensible play for many top brands to keep their election day messaging light, or to not engage at all. And who doesn’t love pictures of cute dogs?

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