Diary: Mutton bids to be the new lamb

Forget selling ice to the Eskimos, Kabassa Marketing Communications is faced with the ultimate PR challenge - to make mutton palatable to the masses.

The campaign that will culminate in a Festival of Mutton in November will attempt to counteract 82 years of damage caused by James Joyce's most successful of anti-taglines - 'mutton dressed as lamb'.

For any brand, the key is to get young, funky celebrities to offer their endorsement, and the mutton camp has struck gold with the eminently appropriate Prince of Wales lending his support, along with TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Ten years after the death of TV chef Fanny Craddock, who labelled mutton 'divorce meat', Kabassa will lobby top restaurants to feature the mutton on their menus.

Lack of availability is partly responsible for the current public perception that 'mutton's just a raggedy old sheep', says Kabassa consultant Carole Baldwin. So a mutton hotline was recently set up for all links in the mutton supply chain from farmer to consumer.

Perhaps some sort of education programme would be beneficial after contract catering firm Scolarest was exposed passing mutton off as lamb in school meals - with the justification that children do not know what mutton is.

Surely the true test of the campaign's success will be whether the English Beef and Lamb Executive, which is co-funding the PR drive, moves to incorporate mutton into its name.

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