Campaign for the Latvian language Celies un Ej (Get Up and Go)

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Baltic PR Awards 2012 …

Baltic PR Awards 2012
Category: PUBLIC SECTOR & NGOs
Organization: Deep White & !MOOZ
Client: Biedrība par Latviešu valodu (NGO)
Country: Latvia
Project name: Campaign for the Latvian language Celies un Ej (Get Up and Go)
Place:1st

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  • 1. Category: PUBLIC SECTOR &NGOsDeep White & !MOOZCampaign for the Latvian language Celies un Ej (Get Up and Go)Biedrība par latviešu valodu (NGO)Summary During 2011, most active section of Latvia’s Russian-speaking community collected the necessary number of signatures for a referendum, on Russian as the second State language, to be held on 18.02.2012. NGO Par Latviešu valodu were outraged when, three weeks before referendum, polls increasingly leaned towards a vote for two languages: • Supporters of Russian language were using strident and targeted communication to mobilise fellow thinkers; • In contrast, inertia and indifference ruled with the defenders of Latvian. Polls showed weak voter activity – 43.3% of those eligible were not even going to vote. Numerous activists organised campaigns supporting Latvian, but these were invisible, fragmented. The Celies un Ej campaign, which addressed those ignoring the referendum and urged everyone to vote in referendum – was created for the Society For Latvian Language. A powerful visual identity and campaign materials were created appealing everyone to use them and express support. A kick-off event was organised to unite and mobilise all supporters and loudly announce the campaign in the public space. Campaign idea unified hundreds of organisations and opinion leaders, thousands of people involved, it was widely reflected in media. But importantly – 71.12% of eligible voters voted in referendum confirming Latvian as the only State languageSituation The referendum, on Russian as the second State language, was be held on 18.02.2012. Polls increasingly leaned towards a vote for two languages: • Supporters of the Russian language were using strident and targeted communication to mobilise fellow thinkers; • In contrast, inertia and indifference ruled with the defenders of Latvian. • The activities of the few defenders of Latvian as the only State language were fragmented and invisible. • Latvian citizens have never been active in elections and referendums, but polls showed unprecedented passivity. 43.3% of those eligible were not even going to vote. Thus, this promised to be one of the lowest-participation referendums in the country’s history.Objectives We understood: language is a deeply personal issue decision. And the majority view is that Latvian must be the only State language. But what was important was that those who were committed and had already decided, leave their comfortable sofas on referendum day: get up and vote. Thus, the primary objective of the campaign became: THAT AS MANY AS POSSIBLE OF LATVIAN RESIDENTS WHO SUPPORT LATVIAN AS THE ONLY STATE LANGUAGE VOTE IN THE REFERENDUM. To prevent further attempts to question Latvian as the only State language, a secondary objective was set: to achieve as high a majority of Latvian-language supporters as possible.
  • 2. Category: PUBLIC SECTOR &NGOsStrategy Firstly, the main campaign message was developed: a simple and clear slogan, an explicit call to action: CELIES UN EJ! Secondly, it was decided TO UNITE THE DIFFERENT LATVIAN-LANGUAGE SUPPORTING INITIATIVES under this same slogan many NGO’s, students coporations, theater team and musucions etc, joined the campaign Thirdly, to ensure that the campaigns message spread quickly and widely, A PLATFORM FOR SOCIAL ACTION WHICH ANYONE COULD JOIN was created. Fourthly, to ensure that this social movement was sustainable, TO CREATE A CRITICAL MASS BY ASSOCIATING STRATEGICALY SELECTED CAMPAIGN AMBASSADORS. They were well-known, popular and respected people, each of them speaking to and involving a particular section of the Latvian public.Execution Powerful visual identity and solutions were created for the campaign enabling anyone to distribute the main idea. • Online platform, social network accounts, Twittbon logo, stickers, badges, posters, postcards and video speeches branded with the campaign logo A kick-off event loudly announced Celies un Ej in the public. • Hundreds of organisations, opinion leaders and celebrities expressed their support by symbolically voting in the Celies un Ej box. • The campaign main message focusing on the call to action –get up and vote – were announced, while inviting supporters to become campaign ambassadors in their local community Intense media relations and a social networking campaign spread and reinforced the campaign message • Broad media support and publicity for the ambassadors nationally and regionally, as well as viral campaign materials flooding the internet and social networks, campaign supporters’ websites and the traditional media space set the ball rolling and ensured that more and more new supporters joined campaign.Documented Results • Within few weeks, several hundred organisations and opinion leaders joined the campaign. • Thousands of people used the Celies un Ej logo in their social networking profiles and shared it. • Campaign website attendance grew by the hour, more then 15 000 visitors attendened it within two weeks. • Campaign organisers phones and e-mails were running hot: people, including well-known ones, wanted to know how to get involved and participate in the campaign. • The words Celies un Ej even appeared on the Daugava river, later revealed as created by students expressing their support for the campaign message. • Hundreds of items on TV, radio, in the national and regional press supported the Celies un Ej movement and idea. • 71.12% OF ELIGIBLE VOTERS PARTICIPATED AND EXPRESSED THEIR VIEWS IN THE 18 FEBRUARY REFERENDUM. AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY, 74.8%, EXPRESSED SUPPORT FOR LATVIAN AS THE ONLY STATE LANGUAGE.
  • 3. Category: PUBLIC SECTOR &NGOs• Furthermore, this referendum had the highest participation since Latvian regained independence.