Media Relations: Cricket legends aid English meat mark

The English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) is using former England cricket stars Ian 'Beefy' Botham and Allan Lamb to introduce its Quality Standard Mark.

The PR campaign explains the benefits of buying beef and lamb that carries the mark. EBLEX claims it is the only quality standard that testifies to the eating quality of meat rather than simply its origin or adherence to an assurance scheme.

Consumer PR activity by Good Relations initially backs up a six-week run of TV ads starring characters based on Botham and Lamb.

The executive is sponsoring the Quality Standard Sizzling Kitchen at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Show throughout March.

Botham and Lamb are to represent their respective meats in a three-day regional tour of England in an effort to drum up coverage in local media.

Celebrity chef Angela Hartnett has been enlisted to create beef and lamb dishes and act as a media spokesperson throughout the year. The campaign will also use radio and print competitions.

EBLEX head of marketing Andrew Garvey said the use of Botham and Lamb introduced an element of patriotism at a time when rival meat marketing bodies, such as those of Scotland and New Zealand, were actively promoting their produce.

Sales of beef for in-home consumption in Britain hit £1.5bn in 2004, while lamb sales reached £552m.

The mark is intended to ensure quality by excluding the use of older animals and those that have been used for breeding.

Trade PR is handled by B2B Communications, although Garvey said industry support for the scheme was ahead of schedule, with about 80 per cent of producers and half of major supermarket chains signed up.

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