‘I don’t want to imagine the consequences’ – Aviva CMO Amanda Mackenzie and Mary Portas call on Scots to stay in brand Britain

Aviva CMO Amanda Mackenzie OBE has said she doesn’t want to imagine having to deal with the consequences should Scotland vote for independence in the upcoming referendum in May.

Speaker: Mary Portas

Speaking on a panel at Thinkbox’s Big Think event at Bafta in London this morning with TV presenter Mary Portas about the British identity and what it means for brands, Mackenzie gave delegates an overview of how the insurance brand has been built since its name change from Norwich Union in 2009.

But when questioned by the audience on how the departure of Scotland would affect brands who invest in Britishness, Mackenzie said she didn’t want to think about the prospect.

“I don’t want to go there,” she said. “We have a huge call centre in Perth and we manage business around the world out of all parts of Britain apart from Wales.

“I don’t even want to imagine having to deal with that as a consequence, which sounds a bit woolly, but I just don’t want to. I just think, I don’t want us to not be British. I want everyone to start tweeting to the Scots ‘We love you and we love it the way it is’.”

The debate heard concerns from delegates about the lack of big British brands finding a voice in the independence debate and the absence of a serious conversation on how Scottish independence might alter the brand marketing landscape.

Portas added: “I think it would be terrible if we were not Great Britain as there is something great in all parts. I read JK Rowling’s letter [which supported the union], it’s amazing, the way she articulated it so beautifully and I think we need to see more of that.

“I do think we need to be united because of our power together, and the wonderful uniqueness of travelling down the country and hearing different accents within a 50 mile radius. It’s that mix that makes us the country that we are.”

The Scottish independence referendum will take place on 18 September.

Also speaking at the event was BBH co-founder Sir John Hegarty, who said he was “deeply upset” at dwindling creativity in the advertising industry.

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