PG Tips vs Instagram: the Brexit culture wars

PG Tips vs Instagram: the Brexit culture wars
PG Tips vs Instagram: the Brexit culture wars

After the Brexit vote, we have been inundated with calls to “get on with it”. British people have been told to come together and make the best of the situation no matter which way they went during the referendum.

But what if it’s not possible? What if the divide is deeper than just a pencil mark on a piece of paper? Some worrying data drawn from YouGov by the advertising magazine Campaign seems to show that Brexiteers and Remainers form two distinct cultural tribes.

The brands preferred disproportionately by each side give us an insight into their world view.

Those favoured by the Leave voters seem to conjure an image of a night in in any home in Britain. There’s a brew on – PG Tips – and some (Cathedral City) cheese on toast on the way, and on the television, it’s Robert Peston on ITV News, trying to make sense of a confused world.

The Remainers have abandoned the sitting room entirely. They’re taking EasyJet flights to foreign lands and staying in Airbnb apartments, sharing all the details with their friends on Instagram and Twitter and then watching whatever they missed on BBC iPlayer when they get home.

It’s partly demographic. The brands that Remainers favour are also the brands favoured by the 18-34 age group, which unsurprisingly voted overwhelmingly in favour of Remain.

There is hope, however. Some brands bridged the divide. The most prominent among those favoured by both sides is Marks and Spencer, a company that manage to seem both comforting and modern in their food selection at least.

And both sides share the same concerns about spending money, unsurprisingly: Money Saving Expert, the financial comparison and advice site, features, as does bargain-friendly clothes shop TK Maxx.

The electoral expert Professor John Curtice told the BBC: “Those who voted Leave are inclined to prefer a culture that is distinctively British and in which they and their friends grew up. It feels familiar and comfortable to them.”

He added that the Remainers were “much more digitally connected, younger and highly educated”.

Top 10 Leave brands

HP Sauce

Bisto

ITV News

The Health Lottery

Birds Eye

Iceland

Sky News

Cathedral City

PG Tips

Richmond

Top 10 Remain brands

BBC.co.uk

BBC iPlayer

Instagram

London Underground

Spotify

Airbnb

LinkedIn

Virgin Trains

Twitter

EasyJet