The guy who came up with the No campaign wasn't an outsider:
In the movie, the slogan the No campaign dreamt up -- La alegría ya viene ("Joy is coming") -- is ripped straight from the actual commercials the
campaign ran. But the heads of the campaign didn't bring in a random local ad man to do it. Instead, American consultants helped the Chileans run focus
groups, and they found a happy message resonated better than one centered on Pinochet's human rights violations.
Frank Greer, head of the political communications firm GMMB, traveled to Chile at least six times in 1987 and 1988.
"We received assistance from the Soros Foundation to hire a group of people who went to Chile to make focus groups. They proved that if you want to win,
it's necessary to have a moderate message. And of course, we have some people to the far left who say, well, I don't agree with this, so they were put out
of the coalition," Arriagada said.
The opposition parties were arch-rivals that had to learn to agree:
Arriagada and his colleagues worked for years to bridge differences between 17 different groups who all had visions for what Chile should be after
Pinochet. Some wanted Pinochet supporters punished, but the No campaign organizers knew they could never win unless they assured regime backers of their
safety after Pinochet's fall.
"Pinochet had the support of the upper class and business community. Our conviction was that if we ... put in jail or in exile the people of Pinochet, that
will be the end of the country. It was necessary to have room for everybody," he said.
"This was a matter of creating tolerance between former enemies. About building a country in which you can have a place. Even if you are coming from
Pinochet or other parties, we are trying to build a fatherland for all. But that moderation was not discovered in the last 30 days, or even the last year.
It was a long, long road that took at least 10 years."
Some parties even suggested abstaining from the plebiscite entirely, thinking that would be the best way to signal their belief that Pinochet's government
"But my recommendation in any place is that you should go to an election, even if you are defeated, you must participate," Arriagada said.
The ad wasn't the most important part:
Before voting day on Oct. 5, 1988, the No coalition led a massive grassroots effort to register 92 percent of the electorate -- a registration drive that
both Wollack and Arriagada said was a turning point.
"Pinochet who had the support of all of the army and the support of the business community. We had the students, we had human rights, we had a very
well-structured political parties, and we had the people in the streets in order," Arriagada said.
Chileans didn't know right away who won:
Pinochet's camp had plans to incite rioting and disorder should the "No" camp win, according to a Defense Intelligence Agency document, and President Reagan had tried to prevent that
possibility, warning Chilean police to uphold the results.