Ex-post evaluation of the institutional information and communication campaign for the 8th European Parliament elections held in May 2014
Study for the European Parliament, DG COMM
The institutional information and communication campaign for the 8th European Parliament elections held in May 2014 had two overarching communication objectives: first, to brand the European Parliament and stress its achievements as an institution elected by and representing EU citizens; and second, to encourage citizens, through promotion of the political importance of the elections, to go to vote.
About the campaign
It was politically neutral, adaptable to the national contexts of EU Member States, usable by the EP's communication partners and interested stakeholders, and implemented across all communication platforms in an integrated way. It covered the 28 Member States in the 24 official languages of the EU. Both the strategy and the implementation of the campaign was closely followed and supervised by the political authorities of the European Parliament.
The campaign managed to reach a larger audience than ever before, with material seen or heard by hundreds of millions of EU citizens, through traditional and social media - social media ads reaching over a billion views across all phases of the campaign, while TV and radio spots achieved ratings of almost a billion based on Teletrax figures. The spots were broadcast for free thanks to arrangements made by the EPIOs with national broadcasters, which saw Parliament benefit from the equivalent of more than 6 million euro in advertising budget. The outdoor advertising, focused mainly on transport hubs like airports and railway stations as well as the public transport, reached over 121 million across EU Member States.
One of the major opportunities for the campaign was presented by the institutional innovation introduced by the treaty of Lisbon, which foresaw the possibility for Parliament to elect the new Commission’s President based on the will of the voters. Under a specific mandate from Parliament's political authorities, the institutional campaign ventured into the territory of the Spitzenkandidaten in the very early stages of the nomination processes of the candidates for the presidency of the Commission by the party families, creating synergies and a sound platform for their campaign efforts. The approach resonated within political circles and among media professionals following EU affairs.
The main challenges faced by the campaign were the EU-wide scope encompassing Member States with different political traditions and divergent national renderings of EU issues, the general decline in the interest in representative politics reflected in the diminishing electoral activity in the latest EU wide, national and local elections and last but not least its ambitious goals and duration backed by a relatively conservative budget.