Pro-EU campaigners are launching a paid Facebook video advertising campaign targeted at parents in an attempt to capitalise on fears about what could happen to Britain's economy if the country votes to leave the EU on 23 June.
The video, provided to BuzzFeed News by the Stronger In campaign in advance of its launch, shows children talking about what they want to be when they grow up, before a narrator warns: "Whatever they want to be, they'll have more opportunities to get on in life if we stay in the EU."
More intriguingly, it's also a sign the pro-EU campaign is preparing to remain focused on economic concerns following last week's Treasury report into the economic impact of leaving the EU.
The video also shows the substantial effort being put into online advertising – especially Facebook adverts targeted at specific demographic groups – during this referendum campaign.
British political campaigning was slow to catch up with tactics that have been standard practice in the private sector for years but this changed following the Conservatives' decision to spend millions on Facebook advertising in the 2015 general election. Both sides of the EU referendum debate are now spending substantial amounts on online adverts to promote their cause rather than simply hoping activists will spread the word online for free.
“This video is aimed at those mums and dads in their thirties and forties who we know are a crucial demographic in winning this referendum," a Stronger In campaign source told BuzzFeed News. "We’ll be running it as a paid advert on Facebook to ensure it gets seen by as many mums and dads as possible."
Although the anti-EU campaign disputes the figures produced by George Osborne's Treasury, the Stronger In campaign believes fear of economic decline will motivate Britons to vote to remain in the EU. Downing Street is increasingly confident recent events have played in favour of the pro-EU campaign, with one Number 10 source saying that although there is "no room for complacency" with a long way to go, they are far more confident of a Remain vote as a result of recent events.
The Stronger In campaign source said the campaign would continue to focus on economic matters, since they believe the anti-EU campaign cannot assuage fears over the economic effect of Brexit: "They cannot get away from the fact that the economy is what drives the vote in this referendum, and we won’t let them.
“Vote Leave may have hoisted the white flag on the economy and retreated to their Farage-lite comfort zone of talking about immigration but we will hammer them every day on the economy, where their argument has fallen apart with their farcical endorsement of the Albanian model."
Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Jim Waterson at email@example.com.
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