In a 50-second clip as part of an advertising campaign launched in February under the name “My Europe” with the aim of popularising the European Union, a young Hungarian moves abroad from the famous Hortobágy plain and then finally returns to his origins. Next viewers learn that the EU supported the development of Hortobágy National Park with over HUF 4.5 billion (EUR 15.18 million) in the past five years, suggesting that precisely this could have contributed to the return of the young Hungarian.
The main message of the campaign is that Hungarian and European identities are not exclusive but instead complement and strengthen one another. “As Europeans we are Hungarians and as Hungarians we are Europeans,” says state secretary Enikõ Gyõri, responsible for EU affairs at the Hungarian Foreign Ministry. The campaign is motivated by the impression that today, after almost a decade in the EU, many Hungarians take the advantages of membership for granted, she says.
The campaign is also designed to present the “massive EU funds” that Hungary has received in recent years in a form that is easier to grasp. The naming of the sum in EU funds that benefited Hortobágy National Park is followed by the information that throughout Hungary in the past five years a total of 97 nature conservation projects received EU funding totalling some HUF 25 billion (EUR 84.38 million). The clip does not contain more than these figures.
The focus on a few, selected figures is not a case of trying to divert attention or conceal something, for which there would be no reason in any case, says Tamás Király, head of the department for the EU Commission at the Hungarian Foreign Ministry. He notes, for example, that EU membership cost Hungary EUR 0.84 billion in 2011, while during the same period the country collected a total of EUR 5.33 billion in funding.
The positive balance of some EUR 4.5 billion could certainly have been presented in the campaign if it were primarily about the numbers, but “this time we deliberately wanted to avoid swamping Hungarian citizens with figures”, Király says.
This and a further clip will be shown on television and the internet, and will be supplemented by a radio campaign. The publicity drive also has its own website, which features an “EU calculator”, enabling visitors to the site, after entering some data about themselves, to find out what tangible advantages the EU has brought or could bring them.
This is far from being the only interactive part of the campaign. Visits by representatives of the EU and the Hungarian government to numerous Hungarian secondary schools and universities are planned.
The European Commission Representation in Hungary, the Foreign Ministry and the information office of the European Parliament are responsible for the campaign, which is financed by the European Commission to the tune of around EUR 36 million (by comparison, the recent anti-International Monetary Fund campaign of the Hungarian government cost some HUF 200 million (EUR 674,874).)
The pro-EU campaign has been developed and carried out by advertising agency MEC Hungary, supported by Young & Rubicam in design and implementation of the creative elements.