The first Lisbon Treaty Referendum had been defeated in 2008. Research indicated that voters were unsure of the benefits of European union the therefore unqualified to make a decision on the Lisbon Treaty. The EUR’s remit was to listen to the concerns of the Irish people about Europe, to give them more information and to relate the feedback to their colleagues in Brussels.
We developed press, radio and online creative to support a series of ‘Listening Events’ nationwide over the summer leading up to Lisbon II. In addition, we developed two cinema commercials that highlighted some of the benefits of closer European union. We also ran a nationwide programme of ‘Listening’ using video-enabled booths at events manned by our staff to capture questions and feedback from the public to populate the campaign website. When ordinary people spoke, the EU listened and, where necessary, fed back information.
The Lisbon Treaty was passed at this second time of asking. In terms of directly attributable research data, the cinema ads were liked by 77% of respondents with 61% claiming that the communication helped them understand the EU better and 49% saying that it made them think differently about the EU. For a contentious issue, this was a very successful result.