Tuesday

6th Dec 2022

NATO reaches out to online audience

  • NATO troops in Kosovo. The military alliance wants to reach out to youngsters (Photo: KFOR, Helmut Vogl)

Four days ahead of its 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg and Kehl, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has launched a web campaign aimed at raising awareness among young people on what it describes its commitment to providing peace and security.

"After 60 years, NATO is changing its communication strategy. It is the first time that we run a web-only campaign, with three videos aimed at reaching a wider audience, especially the younger generation," Jean-Francois Bureau, NATO's assistant secretary-general for public diplomacy told journalists on Monday (30 March).

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The acronym NATO was generally well known, even among youngsters, but what is not so much known is what the organisation was actually dealing with, Mr Bureau said.

The campaign includes three videos suggesting how thin the line between safety and violence is.

"People often take freedom and stability for granted. We don't. Peace and security. That's our mission," says one of the videos, which can be all shared via YouTube, Facebook and other online social networks.

The campaign cost less than €500,000 – less expensive than TV or print advertising campaigns, Mr Bureau said.

German communication company Scholz & Friends developed the promotional strategy.

"This campaign is designed to reach out to a younger audience who may not know NATO very well. It aims to arouse their curiosity, and remind them that freedom and stability are more precious than they might think. It will also remind them that NATO has made a significant contribution to keeping them safe, and will continue to do so in the future," Lutz Meyer from Scholz & Friends said in a press release.

In its efforts to reach out to young audiences, NATO is also organising a youth forum called "NATO in 2020: What lies ahead?" in Strasbourg on Thursday (2 April), ahead of the meeting of heads of states, foreign and defence ministers the next day.

The forum will bring together some 300 students and young professionals from more than 50 countries in order to discuss future security challenges such as cyber threats, climate change and energy security.

NATO's attempts at reaching out to youngsters faces a significant challenge however, as Strasbourg authorities are in the midst of turning the town into a fortress in expectation of some 20-50,000 peace activists, according to police, mostly young people who are to descend on the town during the 60th anniversary celebrations.

As part of the precautions, police have evacuated Strasbourg university and are to keep the institution closed for the week.

NATO was founded on 4 April 1949 as a military alliance granting collective defence to its members on the principle of "all for one and one for all." Most EU states, the US and Canada are members, as well as Croatia and Albania, who are expected to join as full members in Strasbourg. Russia fiercely opposes NATO enlargement, especially towards former Soviet republics, which it still believes to be within its sphere of influence.

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