Countrywide Porter Novelli has been appointed on six-figure fees to
handle all communications for CropGen, a new UK initiative which aims to
promote a more balanced debate about genetically modified (GM)
CPN won a three-way pitch to the consortium of biotech companies -
including Aventis CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and Novartis
Seeds - which fund CropGen.
The account will be led by director Steve Marinker who will be
responsible for a team of nine working on the initiative. He will report
to the communications and public affairs directors of the sponsoring
According to Marinker one of the main aims of the campaign is to provide
the media with easier access to the CropGen panel of experts, chaired by
Vivian Moses, visiting professor of biotechology at Kings College,
’The consortium is keen for people to hear all sides of the argument,’
CPN’s work will include manning phone lines for members of the public
who have questions, overseeing the launch of a biotech web site
(www.cropgen.org) next month, and distributing literature. In total
CropGen is investing pounds 500,000 this year in the campaign.
Despite being funded by the consortium, CropGen claims independence and
its backers have signed an undertaking that they cannot veto the
The formation of CropGen was announced on the eve of the Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development conference in Edinburgh on the
scientific and health aspects of GM foods.
P Porter Novelli Convergence Group has been hired by French telecoms and
computer systems giant Sema Group’s UK business systems division on a
six-figure, brand-building, core technology product and
business-to-business PR brief.