Regional Focus: Scotland

Family values rule at The Sunday Post

Regional Focus: Scotland

A Scottish institution since 1914, The Sunday Post is not your run of the mill Sunday newspaper. Owned by family firm DC Thomson & Co, it positions itself as ‘a thoroughly decent read’ and sits in the same stable as titles such as The Beano and My Weekly. ‘We have no sleaze or scandals and are focused on integrity,’ says David Pollington, who has been with the paper for 40 years and editor for seven.

Cameron Grant, director of Glasgow-based 3x1 Public Relations, says: ‘We deal with it quite a bit and it’s a very family-oriented newspaper, mostly targeting the grey market.’

Based in Dundee, the paper also has offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and, famously, Fleet Street and a readership that spans the whole of Scotland, reaching in to England and beyond.

Covering news and features including the usual gardening and motoring sections, the paper also has a number of high-profile writers. Scottish MP Margot MacDonald and GMTV presenter Lorraine Kelly are regular columnists, while the likes of Roy Hattersley and money saving expert Martin Lewis are regular contributors.

On the first Sunday of every month the papers runs a special colour supplement, Post Plus, primarily targeted at women. This contains features, fashion and food, with November’s issue carrying an interview with Lulu.

‘One of the most successful sections of the paper is our Raw Deal column, where we take up consumer issues on readers’ behalf,’ adds Pollington. The Francis Gay column, which has been around for approximately 60 years and focuses on ‘heart-warming, moving and humorous stories’, is also popular
with readers.

Over the years the Post has successfully campaigned on many issues, from road safety to medical concerns, for example raising more than £4m from readers in aid of the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland to build a new hospice in Loch Lomond. Meanwhile, last month, the paper sent one of its reporters to Monrovia for a series of articles on the work of the charity Mercy Ships International in Liberia.

Pollington is relaxed about lead times and PR people getting in touch. ‘We’d be delighted to hear from them, by email or phone,’ he says, adding that the paper has a late deadline for news on Saturday nights.

Trimedia consultant Kirsty Grant, however, advises building good contacts on the paper. Having successfully pitched a story just last month highlighting a Home Sweet Home runaways campaign run by Scottish children’s charity Aberlour, she adds: ‘We have found the most effective results are achieved by providing exclusives, interviews and case studies to make stories come alive.’

Quick facts

Circulation Approx. 380,000

Frequency Sunday


News editor Tom McKay 01382 223131


Spotlight on a Story Edinburgh International Film Festival: Going it alone

Established alongside Edinburgh’s International Festival in 1947, the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) was one of the world’s first international film festivals. It now pulls in audiences of more than 55,000 over 12 days, but after 61 years running alongside the Edinburgh Festival, the decision was made last year to move the festival to June.

This was done to allow the festival to emerge from the shadow of its larger sister festival.

With the EIFF ‘going solo’ for the first time in 2008, the press team knew it would have to keep on top of what was being reported in the media – both in the run up to and during the festival.

Using Durrants tools, both the press office and its PR agency Rogers & Cowan monitored where the coverage was coming from. The evaluation identified which publications were giving the festival the most space and the most prolific journalists within those publications.

The EIFF generated a huge volume of press in 2008, which undoubtedly contributed to an incredibly successful event this year. With a new chairman, Iain Smith, taking over this year, the EIFF is now preparing to make the 2009 festival even better.


Top Local Businesses RBS, Wood, Diageo, FirstGroup

Royal Bank of Scotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland, in line to benefit to the tune of £19.7bn as part of the Government’s bank bail-out plan, employs around 16,000 people in Scotland. Having lost chief executive Fred Goodwin as part of its rescue package, in November his successor, Stephen Hester, signalled that the Edinburgh-based lender expected to make its first ever annual loss in 2008. This was swiftly followed by plans to cut 3,000 jobs worldwide.
Contact 0131 556 8555

Wood Group

Chaired by Sir Ian Wood, Scotland’s second richest man according to The Sunday Times Rich List 2008, the Aberdeen-based Wood Group is one of the leading offshore services providers to the oil industry in the North Sea. In November, Sir Ian was in the media for pledging £50m to create a new ‘heart’ in the centre of Aberdeen.
Contact 01224 851000;

Diageo Scotland

With four maltings, 27 malt distilleries, two grain distilleries, three production plants and eight major warehousing and blending sites, Diageo has more than 2,400 employees across 45 locations around Scotland, making brands including J&B, Mortlach and Talisker. Last month, the firm fought off claims that it was flouting agreements on responsible drinking labelling.
Contact 0131 519 2133; press


Aberdeen-based FirstGroup employs more than 9,000 people in Scotland across its rail franchise - First ScotRail - and three bus companies covering Aberdeen, Glasgow and Scotland East. The transport group hit the headlines last month, reporting a 57 per cent jump in half-year revenues, helped by people switching from cars to public transport.
Contact 01224 650000


Media Snapshot

Magazines and newspapers

The Daily Record
Circulation 373,157
Editor Bruce Waddell
Contact 0141 309 3251;;

Evening Times (Glasgow)
Circulation 72,535
Editor Donald Martin
Contact 0141 302 7000


BBC Radio Scotland
Found on 92.4 to 94.7 FM
Editor Good Morning Scotland Phil Wells
Editor Scotland Live and Newsdrive (lunchtime and evening news) Pat Stevenson

Radio Clyde
Found on 102.5 FM
Head of news Lorraine Herbison
Contact 0141 565 2200;


BBC Reporting Scotland
Editor Diarmid O’Hara
Head of news and current affairs BBC Scotland Atholl Duncan
Contact 0141 422 7766

Head of news and current affairs Scotland Gordon Macmillan
Editor Scotland Today
Howard Simpson
Editor North Tonight Donald John McDonald
Contact 0141 300 3670

Websites (Aberdeen, Inverness and Elgin)
Web hits 177,726 unique users
Frequency Updated twice daily
Editor Derek Tucker
Contact 01224 690222;
Web hits 40,000 unique visitors
Frequency Updated daily
Online editor John Hutcheson


Beating the Credit Crunch

The BIG Partnership and WS Scotland are optimistic about growth despite the downturn

The BIG Partnership

Now Scotland’s largest PR agency and the UK’s number one ranked consultancy outside London, The BIG Partnership continues to live up to its name. ‘2008 is proving to be a tremendous year for us – we’ve reported strong growth and our business development pipeline remains strong,’ says the firm’s director Zoe Corsi.

This optimistic outlook can be attributed in part to Corsi’s role heading up the firm’s Aberdeen operation, where the local economy remains buoyant. However, it also reflects the diversity of the agency’s client base across sport, consumer brands, retail, manufacturing and public sector work. Even where the firm is potentially exposed in areas such as finance, its clients – including Barclays and Clydesdale Bank are in a stronger position than many.

‘That doesn’t mean that we’re under any illusions about the economy and that we’re not thinking about how to work with clients when times are not so good,’ adds Corsi.

Key clients include Deloitte, Clydeport and Forth Ports, Celtic and Aberdeen football clubs and Tennis Scotland. The agency is also on the roster of the Scottish Government. New clients over the past 12 months include Loganair, the Black Grouse – the latest addition to the Famous Grouse whisky family – and Transport Scotland, in support of proposals to build a replacement crossing for the Forth Bridge.
The agency also has a new UK-wide deal with Bauer Radio, is working with the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership and has been appointed by international infrastructure and construction consultancy EC Harris on a brief to boost its oil and gas division.

In addition, this spring, the firm was taken on by the Trump Organization to help push through controversial plans for a £1bn golf resort

in Aberdeenshire, which received initial government approval just last month.

At a glance

Three best campaigns of 2008 Promoting Clydesdale Bank; raising profile of Highland Park whisky and promoting the rebranded Aberdeen City and Shire region.

Significant hires of past 12 months Former City Star Airlines PR manager Kerry Rohan and former BBC and Sky Sports presenter and reporter Jane Robertson - both account managers.

Predicted fee income for 2008 £7m

Plans for the next 12 months To focus on retaining clients by delivering added-value services.


Weber Shandwick Scotland

After three years of double-digit growth for Weber Shandwick’s Scottish operation, business is still expanding, but the boom has lost some of its bounce.

‘This year we’re expecting single-digit growth,’ admits WS Scotland MD Nora Senior. Predictably, the firm is feeling the pinch from property and not-for-profit clients, but other areas of the business are buoyant and still more are expanding, including public affairs. This year, the agency undertook an extensive consultation and community programme for Strathclyde Partnership for Transport around its Glasgow Airport Rail Link project.

Other areas that are thriving include life sciences and renewables. Most recently, the firm attracted Viking Energy and its proposed wind farm in the Shetland Islands.

With offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen, the agency has long-standing relationships with clients including Talisman Energy, whisky brand Glenmorangie, the Energy Saving Trust and property developer Grosvenor. But over the past 12 months the firm has also welcomed new names including oil equipment and services provider AMEC, the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives, Active Stirling, property firm CALA Homes and the Health & Safety Executive for Scotland.

Standout campaigns over the past year include the launch of an online security software system for children, NetIDme. This summer, the consultancy worked on a UK-wide high-profile push to encourage people to cut carbon emissions by wearing jumpers instead of relying on patio heaters, for the Energy Saving Trust, which won a PRWeek Award.

Like many agency heads, Senior reports that all clients are waiting to see what happens with the economy, but adds that now major redundancies are entering the picture, internal comms will be an area of focus for the next year. ‘PR can help in good times for getting news out,’ she says. ‘But when hard times hit, it can also help maintain morale.’

At a glance

Three best campaigns of 2008 Energy Saving Week for Energy Saving Trust; The Blooming Great Tea Party for Marie Curie Cancer Care; promoting Glenmorangie

Significant hires of past 12 months Paula McNulty, formerly head of PR and communications course at Napier University, and Stephanie Robertson, who ran her own business – both as account directors

Predicted growth Single-digit growth for 2008 on 2007

Plans for next 12 months Senior public affairs appointment; focus on renewables; transport and infrastructure; crisis management ‘pod’

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