The agency, working on a crisis management brief, has opted instead to use Bernard Matthews commercial director Bart Della Mura as spokesman, as part of its strategy.
‘We made a serious, early decision to use the person who is closest to the day-to-day running of the business,’ said H&K issues and crisis MD Tim Luckett. ‘Bernard is aware of the situation and is monitoring it closely.’
Sources close to the founder point out that the 77-year-old has shied away from any media appearances in recent years.
Bernard Matthews first called in H&K late last summer to advise on comms during a possible bird-flu outbreak. Since last week’s outbreak was confirmed, four H&K staff have to date fielded more than 500 calls.
The discovery of bird-flu prompted a swift cull of nearly 160,000 turkeys at Matthews’ Suffolk farm.
Luckett said that now the cull is over, a proactive PR campaign would be implemented
‘Up until now [Tuesday] it has been largely reactive work,’ he added. ‘There is a brand recovery strategy to be implemented.’
Luckett said Bernard Matthews would emphasise the safety and quality of its food, having successfully communicated the fact that bird flu has been contained.