The interview covers Nicolas De Santis’s creation of the European Superhero, Captain Euro, for the launch of the EURO currency in 2002, and discusses the future of the European Union brand.
Watch the trailer for Kobra’s Captain Euro segment!
“Captain Euro started as a social research experiment to test the feelings, emotions and perceptions of the EU in Europeans and the world. When we launched it, the reaction was fantastic, because people either loved Captain Euro, or they hated Captain Euro. This is what we wanted – we wanted people to finally emotionally react to Europe.” – Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International, speaking about the public response to Captain Euro.
Nicolas De Santis is an expert in European Union identity issues and branding and has advised the European Parliament and the European Commission on this subject, as well as on the launch of the Euro currency. Nicolas De Santis created Captain Euro in the 1990s to promote Europe and the launch of the Euro to its citizens and the world. The programme examines some of the reasons for Captain Euro’s creation, and why he has proven so enduring and divisive.
Breaking up Europe? Scottish Independence and UK’s EU referendum
In a globalised world of superpowers, where the nation state is becoming less relevant, and international cooperation more critical, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday unveiled a white paper on Scottish independence. The paper did not truly answer fundamental questions for an independent Scotland’s future, such as its currency (how it can keep the pound sterling), or how it will deal with needing to reapply to join the EU after separating from the UK, when the UK can veto its membership, and when it does not meet the criteria for membership as an independent state.
With similar separatist movements happening in Europe, the plan for how an independent Scotland can be competitive and relevant in a globalised world economy was not clear. Similarly, the UK has proposed a referendum, questioning its own future in the EU. The referendum raises similar questions about the UK’s future political and economic role, if it were to be outside of the EU. Recently the White House, in an official statement, made it clear that the UK being at the heart of Europe is in the interest of the world. Large corporations investing in the UK also stated that if it were to leave the Union, they would have to reconsider their investments.
“The European Union has a serious identity problem. Instead of going forward, we seem to be going back towards the fragmentation and nationalism of the past, wasting the efforts of entire generations of Europeans. Our energies should not be directed towards repeating our unfortunate past, but rather towards building the future of a solid, competitive Europe which can function in the new world economy. We at Gold Mercury aim to help develop a clear vision for the future of the EU, and make it easy to understand for the people who will participate in, and shape its future”. –Nicolas De Santis on the current European situation.
The BRAND EU Center for European Identity
As the EU identity crisis continues, Gold Mercury will be launching the BRAND EU Center, which will cover issues relating to the concept of EU citizen identity formation. The main aims of the BRAND EU Center are to deliver critical insights on the current state of the European Union’s governance and political structure, as well as address the lack of a common European identity and a strong EU brand. Characters such as Captain Euro, are the first tentative steps towards trying to find a suitable common ground to forge a European brand. Gold Mercury’s BRAND EU Center aims to challenge the current complexity, which is associated with the European Union, so that citizens can start to feel closer to Europe.
“Gold Mercury has identified the lack of a clear EU brand and EU identity as a key barrier to achieving the full support of its citizens and for the development of Europe as a whole. One of the key brand problems for citizens in understanding Europe and participating actively, is the complexity of the current political structure of the EU. Still today, it can be only understood by academics or experts,” – Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International, explaining the need for an EU Identity Initiative, the BRAND EU Center