Agencies contest pounds 80m ’Euro’ brief

The European Central Bank, the guardian of the European single currency, is planning to put at least pounds 80 million behind a massive pan-European campaign to herald the launch of Euro notes and coins.

The European Central Bank, the guardian of the European single

currency, is planning to put at least pounds 80 million behind a massive

pan-European campaign to herald the launch of Euro notes and coins.



The campaign - which will break in 2001 and run up to the launch of the

hard currency on 1 January 2002 - will run in the countries already

signed up to the Euro as well as in associated regions.



Ten agencies have been sent a brief and invited to present detailed

evidence of their ability to handle such a campaign. The ECB expects to

reduce the initial selection down to a shortlist of three very

shortly.



These agencies will then be asked to pitch a full campaign concept -

embracing PR and direct marketing as well as above-the-line advertising

- with an appointment to follow in the autumn.



There is no formal pitch process under way for a media agency but this

will be addressed once an advertising agency has been appointed.



An ECB spokesman said: ’The target is to make the banknotes recognisable

to the citizens of all the Euro-area countries and those who handle the

new banknotes on a professional or regular basis. We are not sure at

this stage if the work will run in the UK, but we are certainly not

ruling it out.’



Many large companies in the UK have already said they will keep accounts

and pay suppliers in Euros.



A source close to the business said: ’This will be a classic

governmental campaign, with the emphasis on informing the masses. A

budget in the region of pounds 80 million would not be unexpected.’



The ECB was launched in Frankfurt - Germany’s financial capital - in

July 1998 and is responsible for setting interest rates for the single

currency.



It operates under a governing council of 17 members, led by the

president, Wim Duisenberg. The European System of Central Banks,

comprising the 11 national central banks of the participating countries,

all answer to the ECB.



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