Client: Nil by Mouth
PR Team: PM PR
Campaign: Publicity for Nil by Mouth campaign
Timescale: July 2000 - ongoing
Sectarianism in Scotland often finds its most vocal expression during
Rangers versus Celtic football matches.
The Old Firm, as the two Glasgow giants are collectively known, are the
most popular teams in Scotland and dominate the domestic game.
In 1995, 16-year-old Celtic supporter Mark Scott was murdered in the
loyalist stronghold of Bridgeton in one of a growing number of
sectarian-motivated attacks. His friend Cara Henderson, who recently
graduated from Oxford University, formed charity Nil by Mouth last July
to highlight the threat of sectarian-motivated violence.
Former Celtic PR manager Peter McClean offered the services of his PR
To work against sectarianism and encourage social integration and
celebration of cultural diversity.
Strategy and Plan
PMPR was to highlight awareness through the media, using the launch of a
pounds 40,000 poster campaign as the hook.
The agency worked with councils across Scotland to raise the issue of
sectarianism violence. It lobbied politicians to float the idea of a
change in the law to make sectarianism a crime on a par with racism and
PMPR assisted in the design and distribution of three campaign posters,
each carrying the slogan 'Sectarian behaviour can lead to violence'.
Rangers and Celtic endorsed the campaign through financial contributions
and displayed the posters at their stadia. It was the first time the
clubs had undertaken a united anti-sectarianism initiative. Elsewhere
posters were displayed in train stations and on buses. Henderson was
made available for interviews and spoke about sectarianism in
Measurement and Evaluation
Effecting a change in people's mentalities is a long-term goal, not
easily measured by conventional methods. That said, the impact of the
campaign in terms of media coverage has surpassed all expectations.
The campaign received blanket coverage by the Scottish media. It was
covered by The Daily Telegraph and The Independent, as well as the BBC's
Newsnight and radio stations.
The campaign caught the mood of the political establishment in Scotland.
The Millennium Commission has granted pounds 402,000 to a partnership
between Nil by Mouth, Glasgow City Council, Rangers and Celtic, the
Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church Campaign.
From May, funds will be allocated to groups with ideas for
anti-sectarianism projects. Since its launch, health union Unison has
publicly endorsed Nil By Mouth, stating that its members, hardened to a
nine-fold increase in violent attacks following Old Firm matches,
appreciate the campaign.
The campaign also attracted several Scottish celebrities, including
novelist Ian Rankin, composer James McMillan and film producer Peter
Mullan. Their support can be harnessed in future campaigns.
There is little doubt Nil By Mouth's success is down to the active role
played by Henderson. The media has portrayed her as an independent
person without religious bias and whose convictions are fuelled by