Danish firms told to avoid spin doctors

The head of the Danish Business Council in Dubai has urged Danish companies not to use “spin doctors” to help them manage the growing crisis following the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

But Arla Foods, one of Denmark's largest food suppliers, has told Campaign that it had appointed a public relations agency to advise on its communications strategy, but it refused to name the firm.

Violence has erupted across the Middle East after a Danish newspaper featured derogatory images of the Prophet Mohammed. Other papers across the world have since published the cartoon.

Jens Lund, president of The Danish Business Council in Dubai, said that while the organisation was giving advice to Danish companies operating in the UAE, it had no
plans to start any marketing or advertising itself. He said: "The business council is not doing anything on the marketing front, but we are trying to help companies that are facing problems.

"From our point of view, our focus is to keep our members informed of what's going on. I will tell people not to use spin-doctors and to focus on the facts -- it is a privately-owned newspaper that has done this, not the population of Denmark, and so we are telling people to stick to that fact."

Thomas Bay, consul general of Denmark in Dubai, told Campaign that while he was making efforts to address the political situation he had no plans for taking direct marketing action.

"It will not help us to go to the newspapers and take out ads telling people that they should go out and buy our products -- that would make it worse. In many people's eyes we are the bad guys, that perception remains, and therefore we should be very careful."

Laurent Ponty, UAE and Oman marketing manager at Arla Foods, said that, although it had appointed a public relations agency, the company intended to maintain "radio silence" on the issue.

Ponty said: "We have one [a PR agency], but we cannot say who it is. From our side we have no further comments to make this week."

See Campaign Middle East for more PR, advertising and marketing news from the region.

http://www.itp.net/campaign

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