One of my favourite political books – mentioned on this blog before – is Don’t Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff. The idea behind the title is to show what happens when the wrong words are used. You read that title and of course you think of an elephant.
So yesterday I was disturbed to see the advert shown above at Gare du Luxembourg, the railway station next to the European Parliament in Brussels. It’s a large ad, perhaps 5 metres long, illuminated, and paid for by the Commission’s representation in Belgium.
I dread to think of how much the ad cost to make and to display and it gets the messages all wrong.
“Everything is Europe’s fault” starts by making the viewer think everything is Europe’s fault – a catastrophic framing error. Then the four images are just weird. Do people think that social exclusion or the financial crisis are actually the fault of the EU? Perhaps the EU did not do enough in response, but do people think the EU is to blame? Then if you follow the web link – eu4be.eu – you get to a bland institutional website of the Commission Representation that bears no resemblance to the advert.
Hopeless. Which firm gets the contracts for rubbish like this?
[UPDATE – 28.6.2010]
Gare du Midi is covered with EU posters just now – pink faces also linking to eu4be.eu, and horribly bland posters about the Belgian Presidency of the EU. OK, there is no Belgian government just now, so maybe something interesting was not possible?