Here it is. The communication campaign for the 2014 European elections has started officially. One video, 28 countries, 24 languages. The whole campaign, as it is keenly pointed out, is costing 16 million Euros, exactly 0,031 euro per citizen. So, money well spent?
Have a look at the video:
I like the tagline. It works better in English than in other languages - as is often the case. But I like it. The three words are right and effective.
The music, the pictures and the script are less convincing though. No need to dwell on the music that is simply uninspiring. The pictures, some of which quite strong, have no logical connection with each other if it weren't for the script. They seemed to have been chosen a bit randomly, but this could not be the case, right? Perhaps the reason is that the script itself starts with a long list of opposite generic verbs (love-hate, begin-end etc.. couldn't they chose verbs related to issues the EU actually deals with?): in the attempt to make it quite obvious and easy to understand, the producers have decided to be slightly too broad and too literal and, when selecting the images, made them simply fit with the words. In a powerful video, the images speak for themselves. It is not quite the case here.
But this brings me to the main issue: I can only imagine the amount of negotiations that must have taken place during the production as it had to make everyone happy in every language! So, I shouldn't be too critical. No, I won't be critical. I am just mad. Not mad with the Parliament, mind you.
Mad with the inevitability of mediocrity - gosh, I sound like Salieri in the film 'Amadeus'! By mediocrity I don't mean inferior, I mean ordinary, not outstanding.
Mad because national euro-sceptic parties will not have the constraint of trying to please everyone.
Mad because they will be allowed and will use provocative messages, possibly even outrageous ones, that will reflect their simple narrative, a black and white vision of the EU.
Mad because next year's elections will probably have a higher turnout, not thanks to this video, but thanks to those messages; messages, that will strike a chord with a substantial number of disaffected European citizens.
Mad because, as a result, we might end up with a European Parliament that will be representative only of a specific - to use a neutral term - section of the European demos.
So, the question is not whether the money invested in this campaign is money well spent, but rather what kind of messages we - as pro-Europeans - will need to communicate to tackle effectively what will no doubt be the toughest European election campaign we have had so far.
I know that this is an information campaign: the Parliament cannot be openly pro-European. But for someone such as myself who deeply cares about the results of next year's elections, it is discouraging to come to the conclusion that a "love-hate, begin-end, win-lose" script is not quite the much needed knock-out blow to euro-phobia. But come on Virginia, it's early days....