Situation: Voter turnout had been declining since the very first European Elections in 1979 and hit a low point in 2014 with only 42,5 % showing up to vote.
The role of this campaign was to make Europeans stand together and vote in the 2019 European Elections. With Brexit, the rise of fake news, populism, and nationalism, the European project felt fragile in the time leading up to the elections. Commissioned by the Parliament the brief was not to create a political campaign about who and what to vote for, but a democratic campaign about why we (should) vote.
The objectives was to engage Europeans in the 2019 European Elections. The ambition was a 360º campaign with TV, social media and press, but taking the huge and diverse target group of 400 million eligible European voters into consideration, the means were limited. Most of the exposure had to be earned.
Democracy should unite us, but politics often divide us. We tend to forget all the things we have in common. We needed an idea with the power to unite Europe.
We needed a message of hope, and the biggest act of hope and will to believe in a better future is a child’s birth. So, we filmed the intense and raw beauty of new Europeans being born, across Europe, right before the elections. In total, 15 real births were filmed across four European countries.
In a world where public breastfeeding is still an issue sometimes, live births in an official EU film is a big statement.
The campaign consisted of radio, print, outdoor, press etc. But the main content was a long-format online-film, and with a huge and diverse target group of 400 million eligible European voters, the film had to be impactful. Exposure had to be earned.
So, paid, owned and earned media amplified each other. We initiated the campaign with a pan European PR push focusing on stats across 28 member states followed by a push focusing on local survey results. Furthermore, due to the campaign film going viral, we coordinated a third PR push focusing on the success of the film, which became news in itself.
Within a matter of weeks, the campaign film generated more than 135 million views on social media alone and 600.000 interactions (shares, comments, likes). 1200 cinemas contributed and showed the film. 84 national tv-channels aired a tv-version more than 2500 times altogether (plus the coverage by regional channels). The biggest medias in Europe did editorial coverage on the campaign (Forbes, Guardian, Spiegel, Le Figaro, Bild, Politico, Le Monde and many, many more), and it became the object of news and panel discussions on many of Europe’s biggest tv-channels.
The campaign earned €9.466.667 in media exposure (OTS 3.44 billion)
44% of Europeans recall the campaign.
27% of Europeans specifically saw the campaign film prior to voting. And while voter turnout never comes down to one or even a few deciding factors, the campaign messages had a clear impact on voter turnout.
Europeans who recall the campaign had a 24% higher voting turnout.
Europeans who specifically saw the campaign film prior to voting had a 28% higher voting turnout.
And the overall voting turnout in the European Elections increased for the first time since the very first elections in 1979.
Voter turnout increased by 19% to a 20-year high. (An 8,5 points increase from 42,5% in 2014 to 51% in 2019).
EP Spokesman and DG Comm Media Director
& Co. / NoA