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Germany’s lack of enthusiasm for European monetary union means that any future campaign to communicate its benefits faces a difficult challenge. John Shannon reports. John Shannon is president of Grey International

The leadership of Germany and France may be providing the political impetus behind the drive towards Economic Monetary Union, yet there still remains a major need to convince the populations of both countries that a single currency is ultimately desirable.

New research conducted in Germany shows that more than 60 per cent of the German population are opposed to switching from the Deutchmark to the ECU. This figure exactly matches the results of a Gallup poll conducted in the UK a year ago, and clearly demonstrates the EU has made little progress in gaining popular support for this fundamental aspect of its plans.

In its coverage of this issue, Germany’s highly respected Die Welt newspaper recently highlighted how urgent the task of communicating the benefits of a European currency has now become. If unresolved, opposition to EMU will grow, until it finally becomes an insurmountable obstacle to closer union between member states.

As Die Welt pointed out , there is no shortage of agency people with ideas about how the advertising task should be addressed. One German agency chief executive favours a hard-hitting slogan directly comparing the two currencies; the creative director of another believes the ECU must be communicated in a smart, young and free manner.

These approaches may well be valid as ideas for final above-the-line creative executions. However, to be effective, they must be supported by a long-term, multi-disciplined communication pro- gramme, including both public relations and direct marketing. The task of selling the idea of a single currency is far more complex than that of selling consumer products.

Inevitably, as the anti-EMU lobby becomes more vociferous, the challenge will become increasingly arduous and expensive.

With a re-ported budget of only DM17m (approximately 6.2m) allocated for communications of all EU matters in Germany, the likelihood of an effective campaign to address emotional attachment to national currencies, seems increasingly remote.

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