The political movement headed by Czech agro-food billionaire Andrej Babiš , ANO 2011, is gearing up to spend tens of millions of crowns on Senate elections due in the fall and preparations for elections to the lower house of parliament.
Babiš’ movement has, according to Czech Position’s information, has sounded out a series of media agencies which could take command of the media campaign which is being prepared. The high profile agencies include Ariston PR, Candoo Communication, Underline, and McCann Erickson with possible campaign spending of Kč 20-30 million earmarked for this year.
“The tender is underway and has not been closed yet and so I can’t name anyone [as the winner],” Babiš told Czech Position.
Babiš envisages a three-phase campaign. The first preparatory stage would involve the registration of ANO 2011, already supported by around 20,000 people, as a political party at the Ministry of Interior at the end of May and start of June. The presentation of the new party would involve spending of around Kč 4-7 million.
The second phase should cover the Senate election campaign in which ANO 2011 is expecting to field five to 10 personalities, the identities he is currently not willing to reveal. Documents show Babiš is willing to spend between Kč 1.0 million and Kč 2.0 million on the campaigns of each candidate and is counting on success for at least two-thirds of them.
‘I have seen better tender conditions. It’s clear that they are starting from zero.’
The final phase will cover a nationwide campaign ahead of nationwide elections to the lower house of parliament scheduled to take place in 2014 or for earlier elections if necessary. Total spending and the scope of the campaign have not been set out with PR companies expected to fill in the gap themselves.
The main campaign messages for the nationwide campaign are expected to put the stress on the fight against corruption and creation of a functioning state administration.
The winning PR agency will be expected to create a team which will exclusively work on the ANO 2011 contract with tasks including monitoring of media coverage of Babiš and a framework for strategic communications.
According to a source experienced in political campaigns, the outline of Babiš’ PR contract gives away a certain inexperience in the matter. “I have seen better tender conditions. It’s clear that they are starting from zero,” said the source.