INTERNATIONAL: Euro RSCG set for beef crisis PR job in France

PARIS: The French government has hired Euro RSCG for a PR campaign to help restore consumer confidence in French beef as fears about BSE spread throughout Europe.

Euro RSCG - France's leading PR and marketing services agency - has been appointed to handle all crisis communications and advertising to keep consumers informed on all action the Government is taking as the BSE crisis deepens.

A crisis team of seven PROs has been assigned to the campaign, with three staff seconded to handle press enquiries in the office of government minister Jean Glavany.

The team is headed by Euro RSCG corporate chairman, Stephane Fouks, and senior consultant Gerard Dijoud.

'The idea is not to increase the sales of beef, but to explain to the public what the Government is doing to protect consumers,' said Dijoud.

Euro's PR brief includes developing a communication strategy, providing high level counsel, national, international and regional media relations and speech writing.

The Government has set aside over pounds 1.5m to spend on the communications campaign, which, apart from PR, takes the form of a freephone customer enquiry line, full page ads in the French national press, radio spots, distribution of information leaflets and an information campaign aimed at schoolchildren.

The budget is part of an overall pounds 292m communications fund allocated by the French government to tackle the recent BSE scare.

Sales of French beef have fallen dramatically since the problem came to light, and now most French school districts have decided to cut beef from children's menus.

Figures suggest the number of cattle with BSE in France - where there is still an illegal ban on British beef - has tripled this year to more than 100.

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