WASHINGTON: Euro RSCG Magnet staged a one-week public issues blitz for Airbus earlier this month - totaling $750,000 in paid advertising and creative work - to raise awareness in Washington of the positive impact the European company has on the American economy.
The aggressive campaign coincided with Airbus' gathering of hundreds of its US and global suppliers in Washington in the week of October 3rd. "The media buys were huge," said Mike Smith, EVP and GM of Magnet's DC office. "In my career, this is one of the largest media buys for a public issues ad campaign."
As the top two commercial aircraft manufacturers in the world, Airbus and Boeing have fiercely fought for market share in recent years, with each side claiming that the other has gained an unfair advantage through government subsidies. The campaign "has a lot to do with the US government not interfering with free and unfettered trade," Smith said.
Magnet has been tasked with making Airbus, which is owned by European companies EADS and BAE Systems, look less like a foreign company that has received European government subsidies in the past and more like a company that provides $7 billion in annual economic benefits to the US.
The campaign included an eight-page insert in the Washington Post, as well as advertisements in Roll Call, National Journal, and Congressional Quarterly. The ads attempted to show how 140,000 American jobs exist in 47 states because Airbus aircraft are built with US parts and labor.
"Those are real numbers that Congress can understand," Smith said.
Magnet worked closely with Airbus North America officials to coordinate the integration of public affairs, corporate communications, and advertising in the campaign, Smith said. "Having all of those synergistic messages has really made an impact on Capitol Hill to restate the case that Airbus is a global company," he explained.
In May, the US government filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization, charging the European Union with providing illegal subsidies to Airbus. The European Union reacted immediately, protesting US government tax breaks and other types of financial support for Boeing.
The campaign marks the first time that the aircraft manufacturer has tapped Magnet to conduct a public affairs campaign. Airbus already is a major client of Euro RSCG's advertising division.