BALKAN BLOG: Kosovo plays the "yoof" card

By bne IntelliNews November 11, 2009

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Can advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi work the same magic for Kosovo in 2009 as it did for the Conservative Party in the UK in 1979, when its series of eye-catching election posters propelled Margaret Thatcher to power?

At the end of October, a 60-second advert promoting Kosovo hit global TV screens, with the promotion running on the major networks such as CNN and the BBC. The €6m advertising campaign, conceived and produced by Saatchi & Saatchi's local partner PR solutions, is attempting the Herculean task of transforming Kosovo's international image from being a byword for ethnic tensions, gangsterism and mud, to one of an up-and-coming state peopled by a dynamic, well educated and youthful population. A press campaign in the likes of The Economist and Newsweek is set to follow.

The TV advert with the slogan, "Kosovo: The Young Europeans," features a legion of happy, smiley students putting together pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, which form the outline of Kosovo within a map of Europe. Whether this campaign is capable of convincing the world that Kosovo is a New European paradise rather than an ethnically divided country with an economy that even the likes of Afghanistan would blanch at, is debatable. But if it succeeds, Saatchi & Saatchi will have more than earned their €6m fee.

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