Press conference on the occasion of the unveiling of the euro banknotes and their security features. Presentation of the mass media campaign including a brief overview of the Euro 2002 Information Campaign
by Professor Eugenio Domingo Solans, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, Frankfurt, 30 August 2001
Ladies and gentlemen,
Preparing people to be well informed and to feel confident in using the euro banknotes and coins is the overall objective of the Euro 2002 Information Campaign conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the 12 national central banks of the euro area, i.e. the Eurosystem. At the heart of the Eurosystem's campaign is the mass media campaign, which I shall have the pleasure of unveiling today.
This mass media campaign does not, of course, take place in a vacuum; the atmosphere surrounding the campaign must be appropriately prepared so as to have the maximum impact. Those of you who were with us on 1 March may recall that we outlined the first stages of our Information Campaign in the 11 official Community languages.
Throughout this year, we have been rallying people and organisations to prepare for the intensive information phase which we are now entering.
Our Partnership Programme now includes more than 2,600 national and international organisations which are currently using our information material on the euro banknotes and coins to broaden their audience and multiply the impact of our Information Campaign.
National euro conferences organised and hosted by the national central banks throughout the euro area are bringing together these partners and other key participants in the cash changeover in each of the euro area countries in order to encourage the use of "best practices" when preparing such information.
Our euro website, which consists of 4,000 pages in 11 languages, is currently being visited 4,500 times on average a day. It is also the most frequently visited page on the ECB's website.
At the beginning of this year, we ensured that there was a permanent flow of information by distributing a series of press kits to the media on key dates in order to keep the countdown to the cash changeover on schedule.
Today, we are launching the most intensive phase of our Information Campaign targeted at both the general public and cash handlers.
We are very pleased to announce a new initiative inviting Europe's children to
participate in our Information Campaign. Children aged eight to twelve are invited to participate in a competition by answering five multiple-choice questions on euro banknotes and coins either by visiting our website or by using one of the seven million colourful posters. Two winners from each country will be the first to receive the euro banknotes once they become legal tender on 1 January 2002.
Over the last few months of the year, the flow of information will increase both in terms of presence and intensity through a variety of media.
This will involve increasingly detailed information through television and print advertising.
It will also involve the mass distribution of detailed print leaflets and other materials with the aim of keeping the general public informed and of training cash handlers.
What is behind the creative concept of this advertising campaign?
The campaign slogan, presented by the President of the ECB on 1 March 2001, entitled "the EURO.OUR money", will form the centrepiece of our campaign throughout Europe and beyond. The advertising which will now follow develops the ideas behind our slogan in two separate phases through both television and print media.
As already mentioned earlier on, the idea that the euro cash changeover and the successful completion of Economic and Monetary Union will depend on each and every European citizen is the main message of the television spots. It reflects the positive spirit of a single Community through the use of a common currency. Thus we are very optimistic about the personal commitment which we believe 300 million Europeans will make to familiarising themselves with and preparing to use the euro banknotes and coins - OUR money.
First, starting in September, we will launch a wave of television spots with the aim of appealing to Europeans to participate in the preparation process and highlighting the notion of a common currency as a symbol of our European identity. This wave will last for one month.
Having successfully captured the attention of the public, a second wave consisting of four different television spots in November and December will provide Europeans with detailed information on the new euro banknotes and coins, and in particular on their security features.
The Eurosystem will increase the intensity of this information wave through print ads in the European media in September followed by a second wave in November/December.
The concept and content of this mass media campaign is uniform throughout the 12 euro area countries. The main reason behind our single approach throughout Europe lies in the spirit of the campaign, the spirit of 300 million Europeans sharing the same currency, as reflected in its slogan "the EURO.OUR money". However, there are also practical reasons for this. The objective of our Information Campaign is to provide the European public and cash handlers with the basic and practical information required to prepare them for the euro banknotes and coins.
Co-operative action is being taken in the form of other information campaigns which are complementing the Eurosystem's campaign with additional information on specific aspects of the cash changeover in each euro area country.
In order to extend the lines of communication beyond the euro area, an international campaign will be launched in the international media. Particular attention will be paid to travellers visiting Europe.
In order to reinforce the mass media campaign and to increase the level of detailed and accessible information, we are also distributing two other print packages to a wide audience, aimed particularly at the general public and professional cash handlers respectively.
At the end of the year, the ECB, together with the national central banks of the euro area, will distribute 200 million copies of an information leaflet to be used as a euro guide for the general public. This guide, entitled "Getting ready for the euro - Your guide to the euro banknotes and coins", will be published and distributed in early October. This colourful, eight-page leaflet provides information on practical facts about the euro. It is designed to furnish Europeans with useful information in an easy-to-use format. This information leaflet will not only be produced in the 11 official Community languages of the euro area, but will also be translated into 23 additional languages in order to appeal to the widest possible audience both inside and outside Europe.
Furthermore, particular attention has also been paid to commercial and professional groups directly involved in the use of banknotes and coins. For example, we are providing training kits for bank and retail cashiers as well as for other professional cash handlers.
Through the extensive distribution of these materials to both the general public and cash handlers, we aim to encourage familiarisation with the basic features of the euro cash changeover among the public and professional groups.
Confidence is, of course, the key word. Confidence will be key to making a success of the euro cash changeover. Building that confidence has therefore been the most important motivating force behind everything we have done and will continue to be a driving force throughout the Euro 2002 Information Campaign.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for your attention, I now have the great pleasure of inviting the President of the ECB, Dr. Willem Duisenberg, to officially unveil the euro banknotes.