ProStuttgart21 Promo, Case study STUTTGART 21 by Interprofit

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Industry Public awareness
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Spain
Agency Interprofit
Creative Director Robert David Jung
Released November 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Public Affairs
Advertiser: PROSTUTTGART21
Managing Director Public Relations: Matthias Wesselmann (Fischerappelt)
Managing Director Creative: Mirco Völker (Fischerappelt)
Consultant Public Relations: Felix Montag (Fischerappelt)
Creative Director: Robert David Jung (Fischerappelt)
Junior Graphic Artist: Davide Di Donna (Fischerappelt)
Junior Art Director: Anja Lechner (Fischerappelt)
Media placement: Public City Planning - Internet - March 2011
Media placement: Integrated PR Campaign - Internet, Print media, Cinema Spot, Events, Posters, Viral Activities - October 2011
Media placement: Public Panel Of Experts - Internet - November 2011
Media placement: Referendum - Internet, Print media, TV, Radio - November 2011

Summary of the Campaign
Stuttgart21: one of Europe’s most controversial construction projects, to turn Stuttgart’s central station from a terminal into an underground station, caused immense public uprising. Criticism ignited on the project planning that has spanned over several years, and the costs involved rose to such an extent that its public legitimation was at stake.

The concept of 'bringing it back to the people' was based on 4 measures:

1. A public panel of experts: Pro and contra arguments are broadcast live.
2. A Referendum: The people should decide the outcome of the project in a countrywide arbitration.
3. Public City Planning: A dialogue platform should incorporate the public into the urban development.
4. PR Campaign: The integrated PR campaign should establish the continuation of Stuttgart21.
The outcome: in the referendum 58.8 % voted in favour of Stuttgart21.

We've turned a no into a yes.

The Situation
'Stuttgart21' is the most controversial construction project in Germany with repercussions throughout the whole of Europe. The large-scale rail project, with a new central station, has caused immense discussion and public movement. A conciliation process could not solve the disagreement between supporters and opponents and as a result of the whole situation the conservative state-government lost the elections.

The new government, the Deutsche Bahn and the city of Stuttgart had to reset the project. The issue was how to bring the project back to the people by informing them and hence influencing their attitude towards Stuttgart21.

The Goal
To conciliate all groups and to bring the project back to the people, a process based on 4 pillars was developed. A public panel of experts was established, and the first ever referendum in Baden-Württemberg enabled the public to vote in favor or against the project. Additionally, the citizens should be involved in the planning of the new district Rosenstein.

Furthermore, an integrated PR campaign was aimed at bringing as many voters as possible to the referendum by introducing a more transparent approach. Basically, the PR-task was to inform about the complicated referendum and influence the peoples’ attitude towards Stuttgart21.

The Strategy
Whereas citizens and activists against Stuttgart21 solely used highly emotional arguments, the strategy to bring the project back to the people was focused on solid facts, which nonetheless ultimately provoked emotions within the supporting groups (the silent majority) and activated them to participate in the referendum:

Therefore, people in the metropolitan area who are directly affected by the project had to be approached, as well as those within the whole of Baden-Württemberg. So, for the PR campaign 2 different approaches were drafted:

'Finish building or keep being annoyed?'
- aiming at people in the metropolitan area who suffered from the ongoing demonstrations which massively affected the traffic.

'Waste 1.5bn?'
- aiming at people in the whole of Baden-Württemberg. As Deutsche Bahn, the constructor of Stuttgart21, threatened to charge the government if it were to drop out of the project, the land would face massive compensation expenses.

To inform the people of Baden-Württemberg about the pros and cons of the construction project, and to integrate them into the development process of the new urban district Rosenstein, innovative web platforms for live streaming were created. Here, people could easily access information about the ongoing discussion between the experts, participate in the discussion and bring forward both their concerns and ideas. For the referendum, a creative and innovative information campaign was established.

With a large spectrum of different measures, the campaign informed about the negative consequences of stopping the construction process and comprehensively illuminated the complex referendum formulation.

The campaign included all PR and campaign activities:
• media relations and events
• massive poster-campaign
• print ads
• campaign homepage and social media relations
• viral campaign-activities (reverse graffiti, laser projections on public buildings and the old train station)
• video clips in public spaces
• a cinematic commercial

Documented Results
A heated debate took place and within 2 months a majority of the state-population had changed its opinion. On November 27, 2011 the results concluded that 58.8% of the voters said no to dropping the government’s financial support. Even in Stuttgart, where the protest movement was a very present issue, the majority voted in favour of Stuttgart21.

Thanks to the multi-channel integrated campaign, we have turned a no into a yes. Stuttgart21 is going to be built and a new urban district will give the capital of Baden-Württemberg a new, modern face.

Through continuous media attention, not only in Baden-Württemberg’s local media, but also around the rest of Germany, as well as the rest of Europe, the campaign’s messages were successfully communicated. No other public project has ever gained that much media presence.

Examples for distribution:
Stuttgarter Zeitung, Stuttgarter Nachrichten, SWR,,, Tagesspiegel, FTD, FAZ, Tagesschau, The Guardian