MHP and Edelman take over London pub for campaign against alcohol tax increases

MHP and Edelman have re-branded a London pub as 'The George', featuring the Chancellor as its landlord, to launch a campaign calling for a 2% cut in alcohol duty.

'The George': MHP and Edelman create campaign ahead of 2015 Budget
'The George': MHP and Edelman create campaign ahead of 2015 Budget

The campaign, on behalf of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), the Scotch Whisky Association and the Tax Payers’ Alliance, will run until the spring 2015 Budget.

Together with Edelman, which represents the Scotch Whisky Association, MHP took over The Punch Tavern on Fleet Street and re-branded it to become ‘The George’, designing menus, bottle labels, posters and sandwich boards that echoed the tax increase on alcohol that Osborne is proposing. Drinks were served according to the amount of tax paid for a standard measure and video footage was taken to be used throughout the rest of the campaign.

The brief was to generate widespread media coverage to kick off the campaign, draw more people to the campaign’s website which allows people to contact their MP in support of a tax cut and promote the three key spokespeople for the campaign - Miles Beale, chief executive WSTA, David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association and Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

Beale said: "The wine and spirit sector already makes a significant contribution to the wider hospitality industry and to the British economy. Independent analysis from EY shows that the sector’s economic contribution could be £3.9 billion greater if it weren’t for the UK’s sky-high duty rates.
"By cutting the duty on wine and spirits at the next Budget the Chancellor would provide welcome relief for the British public, boost jobs and growth and generate an additional £1.5bn for the public finances."
In the first 48 hours following the launch, the campaign received 24,162 twitter impressions, 153 pieces of radio coverage and national press coverage in The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman, Harpers, The Drinks Business and The Grocer.

James Gurling, managing director at MHP, said: "This campaign launch has seen our team work in partnership with two trade associations and their collective members in coordination with another agency. It is fantastic to see the media get behind us and build great momentum at the start of this campaign."

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