An advertising battle between Euro-sceptics and their opponents is set
to break out following the European Movement’s appointment of McCann-
Erickson to boost its funds and membership.
The all-party lobby group, which is calling for the UK’s full
integration into Europe, has been talking to the agency since the
beginning of the year. It had held off making an appointment until the
Government had decided whether to commit itself to a referendum on a
single European currency, now likely to take place next year.
The European Movement is launching its first pre-emptive strike with ads
in the broadsheet national newspapers this week. They will tell voters:
‘Don’t wait for the European referendum. Pick up a pen and vote now.’
Their appearance will mark an intensification of the controversy over
Europe that kicked off when Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party ran
ads through Banks Hoggins O’Shea last month aimed at ensuring John Major
does not renege on his promise to let the British people vote on a
single currency (Campaign, 15 March).
Although McCanns’ Interpublic parent prevents it from handling a
political account, the agency says the fact that the European Movement
has cross-party support means it can take on the business.
However, the account is being run exclusively by account executives and
creatives who are committed to the European Movement’s aims.
David Warden, the McCanns chairman, admitted the agency was divided into
pro- and anti-European camps, but added: ‘We decided it was important we
should offer our services to present an alternative, professional
perspective to the work from Goldsmith and his supporters.’