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