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How aggressive marketing campaigns can affect the creation of a movement

Last week, my partner Davide wrote about premises and promises underlying the creation of the European Union.

Through this article, I will connect mine to his job by focusing on how people reacted to the false promises, especially considering the milestone reached in March, the 25th, 2017: celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the treaties constituting the Economic European Community, signed in Rome in 1957 in the Capitol.


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Why is this theme so hot right now?
Pro-Europeans, who, actually, happen to be quite a few indeed, despite deciding to join forces in order to raise their voices, demonstrated to be separated, while painting integration paths that, maybe, will never be walked down, together with dissimulating this inner division by multiplying events and ‘save the date’s.

Meanwhile, media and public forces polarized their attention not only on ‘pro- integration events’, humble in their personal way and not counting many participants as it was expected, that took part in Rome, but on ANTI-EUROPEAN demonstrations, potentially violent events, because they were catalyzing a bunch of ‘ideologies’, like:

  • NO TAV

And many other ‘guerrilla groups’ anti-EU.
The main question we need to ask ourselves is actually a simple one:

How could these subversive movements could have been so able to collect acolytes in such a ‘seeming’ easy way?

After a heavy guerrilla marketing campaign, providing the perfect amount of aggressiveness requested to ‘of impact’ campaigns.

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Let me just define a guerrilla marketing campaign.

DEFINITION à GUERRILLA MARKETING: advertising strategy focusing on low cost unconventional marketing tactics seeking for maximum results through small budgets.

The original term was coined by Jay Conrad Levinston in 1984 as inspired by guerrilla warfare, an irregular and actually illegal form of guerrilla relating to the small tactic strategies used by armed civilians.
Many of these tactics includes ambushes, sabotages and elements catching with surprise.
Critical success factors of guerrilla marketing are the unconventional marketing strategy, its high energy and its powerful imagination, since GM is about taking the customer by surprise, make an indelible impression with consumers, in comparison to more traditional forms of advertising and marketing.

How did the Anti-Europeans act, in the specific case?

The main instruments were chronically ironic posters spread all over the city of Rome.

Strategically disposed in nerve centers, posters and flyers distributed were showing the so called ‘decision makers’ in EU members’ fate, mainly Jean-Claude Juncker, incumbent President of the European Commission, François Holland, President of the French Republic, and ‘public enemy number one’ Angela Merkel (have you felt the shivers on your spine?), Madame Chancellor of Germany.

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Is it just a ‘blame it on the marketing’ effect, so?
In fact, marketing has the great power of attracting people, persuading them that they have an inner need that has to be immediately satisfied and that only ‘Big Brother’ manipulating their desires through marketing mix ‘P’s can be the chosen one satisfying their needs.
This is 99% true in the economic field, in which marketing is the ultimate lucrative leverage, but, when interfacing with ideology, marketing is just a final step, and it can be considered as a mean to collect people feeling the same way, representing the same ethnic group and so expressing the same need, and, in this case, demonstrating their own political idea (or non-political, either) as part of a kind of tribe. Marketing maneuvers, when dealing with ethics, moral, politics, are a way to create a tribe.

So, in between too many faces of Europe, the risk is that the ANTI-Europe could have won because of its effectiveness. Institutions, parties, movements, organizations, universities, anyone has its own Union to propose. But nobody, on its own, has the strength and the needed brave to realize it, so documents, roll calls, declarations, multiply.
As a result, who works for the Union has the feeling to live in the Babel Tower.

Marketing events could be considered Rome and Genova’s mini flashmobs #pulseofEurope: it is a base movement, spontaneous and absolutely non political, born in Frankfurt just a few months ago and spreading more and more all over Germany and France. Its aim is to make perceivable the sometimes silent and quite presence of those people sustaining the European project, not giving space to those who contest the Union, but gathering to sing the European Hymn.

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Slogans are varying day by day: their focus is on existing differences between Europe to be realized and how is it actually possible to realize this utopia: is it better to

Fly high, no fear of utopia


Settle, tearing idealism apart


The trade-off is between Method and Utopia, so, Purism and Pragmatisms.

Practically impossible is not to understand that the counterparts are the EU Institutions and the Governments of the 28, soon to be 27, EU Countries, which however seem to be ignorant and, precisely, unaware of the mobilizations.

In fact, discussion on Social Networks have been deeply analyzed by Web and Social Staff of DATA STAMPA, company specialized in monitoring the medias, who monitored Twitter and Facebook from March 20th to the 26th, at midnight. As it always happens in these remarkable occasions, Twitter demonstrated to be the most lively social network, with more than 232.000 posts; on the other hand, Facebook, even though it generated a fewer number of posts and comments, it happened to be, another time, the social with highest penetration of people. In fact, when a significant post is diffused on that media, its analogue on Twitter is easily overcome.

An example is the post of the European Commission on Rome’s Treaties,

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Sixty years ago, recovering from the tragedy of two world wars, we decided to bond together and rebuild our continent from its ashes. We have built a unique Union with common institutions and strong values, a community of peace, freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, a major economic power with unparalleled levels of social protection and welfare.

Unity is both a necessity and our free choice.

The Rome Declaration – signed today by the Leaders of 27 Member States, the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission – is a pledge to make the European Union stronger and more resilient, through even greater unity and solidarity amongst us, and the respect of common rules.

With more than 27.000 reactions, 6.800 shares and 290 comments, while the one on Twitter got just 1.800 likes and 1.900 retweets.

Reaching the main event, the sign of Rome Declaration on March the 25th   , the attention on both social networks progressively grows, reaching its highest peak between 11.00 and 12.00 p.m. of March 25th .

Mayor engagement was reached by the post of the European Council, posting a viral video and these words:

 They say the #EU is useless. We say they’re wrong. Celebrate 60 years of European peace and progress with us on Saturday! #EU60

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This shows that, again, socials are networks of people and that, when a representative of an Institution posts on them, it obtains many more accessions than when the Institution itself posts. Even when the Institution is under attack.

And what about you then?
Which side are you?
Which counterpart’s marketing campaign convinced you the most?


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