Euro 2002 Information Campaign
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Euro 2002 Information Campaign

The launch of the Euro was the biggest monetary conversion in history. 300 million people in Europe and 170 million travelers to Europe had to be prepared and informed about the visual appearance of the 7 new Euro banknotes and 8 coins.

Paul Holmes

The launch of the Euro was the biggest monetary conversion in history. 300 million people in Europe and 170 million travelers to Europe had to be prepared and informed about the visual appearance of the 7 new Euro banknotes and 8 coins. As issuer of the banknotes only the European Central Bank had the necessary information to inform people about them. The ECB appointed Publicis in April 2000 to develop and implement an integrated communication program.
 The ECB’s responsibility was to prepare the general public, to ensure they felt comfortable using the single currency from 1 January 2002. Publicis was tasked with all communication-informing Euro zone citizens and businesses for the new currency. This involved creating, coordinating and implementing a communication program of unprecedented scale:
· To 304m citizens and 4.5m businesses
· In twelve individual countries (via government, central banks, police, customs, tourism and finance ministries)
· In eleven different languages and many different cultures.
The specific objectives of the campaign were to educate Euro citizens on the look of banknote and coins and the banknotes security features. The recognition of theses two elements was set as the key measures of effectiveness.
The findings from the Euro-zone qualitative research that was conducted in May 2000 revealed that the launch of the Euro was of low interest for most people, but made Euro-zone citizens feel more European.
 It also highlighted that Euro-citizens were of different stages of readiness for the introduction of the single currency. Quantitative research revealed that people didn’t want to deal with the Euro too long before it was actually introduced. “I am nervous, like before an important math exam – nevertheless I wouldn’t study hard month before, only when it gets really serious” said a participant. This also helped the PR team develop a hierarchy of information needs:
· Reassurance (background behind the decision)
· Basic (Dates, look, value, prices)
· Practicalities (transition period details)
 Research indicated that the launch program had a time-specific and multi-faceted role. Critically, the most important element within the remit of the ECB was to show the Euro citizens what the notes and coins looked like.
Given the scale and timings of the campaign, Publicis recommended the “megaphone strategy.” This consisted of spreading the word to different target groups who would, in turn, communicate it further. Consequently, the messaging was cost-efficient and credible, coming from the closest source to each stakeholder group.
The strategy consisted of three phases all requiring specific executions.
· Phase1: Coordination of the activities of the national banks. Government and public authorities as the primary multipliers.
· Phase 2: Chosen multiplier groups (banking, retail, travel and the media) were targeted.
· Phase 3; Involved both above-the-line and below-the-line communication, aimed to inform and educate the general public and run from January 2001 to March 2002.
Execution involved:
· 200 million 8-page information leaflets, 34 languages
· 13,000 86-page partnership folders, 27 country versions
· 7 million competition posters, 18 country versions
· 6 million brochures for cashiers in 27 country versions
· 3.6 million A4 leaflets, 16 country versions,
· 23 partnership master materials 16 country versions
· 1.4 million posters, 16 country versions
· 14 press conferences
· 230,000 training kits, 27 country versions,
· 8 print adverts in 9 languages, 14 countries
· 150,000 press kits, 7 versions and 11 languages
· 7 TV commercials in 9 languages, 14 countries
· 32,000 press info for journalists via fax and e-mail
· 3 information videos, 16 country versions
· 22,800, interviews for quantitative research in 12 countries.
 TRBI conducted four waves of research. The benchmark was taken in September 2000, with subsequent waves taking place in February/March and November 2001. The final wave was conducted in February 2002.
From November 2001 to February 2002, the campaign succeeded in:
· Raising positive feelings towards the introduction of the Euro by 15 percent (source: TRBI, Wave 3, 4).
· Increasing notes recognition by 27 percent (source: TRBI, Wave 3, 4).
· Increasing coins recognition by 37 percent (source: TRBI, Wave 3, 4).
· Increasing security features recognition by 15 percent (source: TRBI, Wave 3, 4).
 Post-campaign research revealed that TV and print campaign reached 90 percent of the market:
· 92 percent of the representative sample knew the value of each coin (source: TRBI, Wave 4)
· 88 percent of the sample knew the value of each bank note (source: TRBI, Wave 4)
· 43 percent of the sample knew about the security features (source: TRBI, Wave 4)
 Below-the-line activities were also very successful: 2765 national and international highly influential businesses were recruited as partners and were provided with constant updates on the launch of the Euro. The information brochure for all households (200 million copies) was found to be helpful by 85 percent and very helpful by 31 percent.
In February 2002, respondents confirmed that they received 80 percent of information from the media, 76 percent from advertisements and 80 percent from shops and organizations. Within the four months of the advertising burst, the logo “the EURO. OUR money” had risen to 68 percent recall among respondents against 51 percent in November 2001 (source: TRBI, Wave 3, 4).
 The overall effect of these results was that the population felt so confident that the changeover went very smoothly.
The launch was so successful that the campaign length was reduced by two months from the original plan, which saved a significant amount of the investment. The campaign educated 90 percent of Euro-citizens at a cost of €0.46 ($0.45) per person.
The communication program took into account the business requirements and the emotional needs of citizens within the Euro zone, systematically managing the flow of communication using appropriate channels at key times. In April 2000 nobody could imagine how the citizens would feel in January 2002.
At the beginning, the media were very negative and focused only on the Dollar/Euro exchange rate and political aspects of the Euro. The business community was not ready or interested in the changeover. However, by talking to “real people” we discovered in our research that the Euro generated pride in being European.
The partnership program stimulated businesses to train their staff in time and to use the introduction of the Euro to position themselves as very valuable to their clients by spreading information about the Euro. In the website, Publicis provided the ECB with a tool which made information available to visitors accessible whenever and wherever required. This tool allowed the ECB to distribute and dispatch artwork to businesses cost-effectively, saving production and distribution costs. The campaign succeeded in educating the Euro area population very cost-effectively and on time.
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