Two million to bring the logo to life

- The MR opposition is still angry and talk about waste and amateurism

- To make the “Wallonia” brand work, no expense can be spared

The controversy around the Wallonia marketing campaign will start again Monday in the Walloon parliament. There, the liberal opposition will question Rudy Demotte (PS), the minister-president, on what they call a “mistake” and “waste.”

The most recent issue – the acquisition of the domain name Wallonia.be and the publication on the site’s homepage of colorful variations of the six-dotted logo are finally accessible. The strobe-like effect risks plunging the viewer into the depths of confusion…

The problem is, “Wallonia.be” already exists, thanks to Gustaaf Versweyveld. This Flemish citizen is the owner of that address, which he gave to Awex and Wallonie-Bruxelles International (WBI) for €2,500. The agreement was made a while ago, but was only officially signed on Thursday when the owner returned from Switzerland.

This is an interesting question for both Awex and WBI. Why did the Walloon minister-president put so much emphasis on revealing the pieces before establishing the new Wallonia brand image, since the internet address was not available and no marketing campaign is planned before the end of the year?

The Walloon government has succeeded in messing up its communications on communication. “It’s amateurism,” says Willy Borsus, the head of the MR group. “This project has been a mistake from the start.”

It’s a project with a cost. We should mention €477,000 for the McKinsey study that defined the image to be developed internationally. There was the €60,000 (before VAT, so almost €70,000) for the logo, the slogan and multiple variations. Finally, €700,000 set aside by minister Marcourt (PS) for Awex for the first campaign designed around the new Wallonia image.

But that’s not all. According to Willy Borsus, “€2 million will be needed to launch the operation to establish the logo in the media; and as much more to maintain the brand from year to year. The government has been trying to do it little by little, but there are crazy amounts involved, and for a long time.”

McKinsey’s figures

The figures provided by the liberal politician are from the McKinsey consulting firm when they advised the Walloon authorities to focus on Wallonia’s openness to the world to renew the region’s image. “According to McKinsey, €2 million is the total cost to launch a brand, but also what is needed for annual follow-up,” we wrote at the time.

These are considerable sums, but Wallonia has not waited until the logo can make itself known overseas. Awex has budgeted €1.8 million in 2013 for its international media plan. There is one thing for certain: to make the Wallonia brand known around the world, no expense can be spared.

“Who seriously thinks that a logo can make the difference in our favor?” Willy Borsus continues. “What counts is the cost of energy and labor, available space or simplified administrative procedures. This government is incredibly naive.”

ERIC DEFFET

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