CAMPAIGNS: Lobbying - This little piggie went to Whitehall

Client: National Pig Association and Meat and Livestock Commission
Campaign: Save our Bacon
PR Team: Shandwick Public Affairs
Timescale: Jan 2000-ongoing
Budget: Undisclosed

Client: National Pig Association and Meat and Livestock Commission

Campaign: Save our Bacon

PR Team: Shandwick Public Affairs

Timescale: Jan 2000-ongoing

Budget: Undisclosed



Prices of pigs reared in the UK have fallen over the last 18 months,

meaning that producers of pork products are now running at a loss. Late

last year the Government supported the industry by providing a pounds

2.3 million grant to run an advertising campaign. However, the National

Pig Association and Meat and Livestock Commission are campaigning for

further support for farmers from the Government.





Objectives



To draw public attention to the UK pig industry’s crisis. To pressure

the Government into providing short-term aid and a longer term strategy

for an industry restructure. To call for a lifting of the pounds 5.26

levy imposed on pigs as a result of the BSE scare. Also, to drive

awareness of the need for better labelling and fairer European

competition.





Strategy and Plan



In January 2000 the Meat and Livestock Commission and the National Pig

Association published a report to assess to what extent the pig industry

was in crisis, and to produce a cogent framework to present to the

Government. The report established that jobs in the industry were

threatened across the UK, and that local communities were feeling the

brunt of the resulting economic pressure.



It was vital that regional as well as national media were targeted. The

campaign also needed to grab the attention of the Government. Tony Blair

was due to launch his bid to ’reclaim the countryside’ on 2 February,

and so this was chosen as an appropriate time to launch the

campaign.



Winnie the pig was unloaded from a truck into Parliament Square and

housed in a makeshift sty. A 24-hour vigil was maintained, ensuring the

animal was attended to at all times. On 29 February the Bishop of

Hereford, heading an episcopal delegation, joined Winnie in her sty.

Having had his robes chewed by the sow, the Bishop led a prayer for the

plight of British pig farmers.



On other occasions MPs, including Liberal Democrat Colin Breed and

ConservativeTim Yeo, as well as members of the House of Lords, visited

Winnie, providing ample opportunity for photocalls.



Londoners and tourists were drawn to the unusual site of a pig in

Parliament Square and were told of the plight of British pig farming by

the attendant farmers.



A web site was launched by the National Pig Association

(www.winnie-the-pig.com), designed to highlight the campaign to

children. On the site, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson endorses the initiative

(without a fee) and invites children to write a letter and submit a

picture they have drawn of Winnie the pig. She also did a photocall in

the sty in Parliament Square.





Measurement and Evaluation



Winnie the pig gained extensive press coverage, including the Evening

Standard, the Sun, the Times, the Independent, the Financial Times, the

Daily Star, the Mirror, the Daily Telegraph and Farmers Weekly.



Regional newspapers, especially in farming areas, picked up on the

issue, with press including the Hull Daily Mail, the Birmingham Post,

the Evening Express, the Western Morning News, the Herald and the

Northern Echo.





Results



The campaign has so far generated an awareness of the plight of British

pig-farmers by using a simple symbol.



After a farming summit at 10 Downing Street on 30 March, the Government

has promised to provide the pig-farming industry with a three year

subsidy package of pounds 26 million a year. It was also announced that

the imposition of a regulatory charge under the Integrated Pollution and

Prevention Controls would be deferred for three years, and that when it

is introduced it will be cut by 50 per cent.



The National Pig Association plans to continue its lobbying and

advertising drive to create transparency in the labelling of pork

products.



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