CAMPAIGNS: Feeding a need for acceptance - Public Awareness

National Breastfeeding Awareness Week takes place every year in May.

National Breastfeeding Awareness Week takes place every year in

May.



The week is co-ordinated by the Department of Health, but all

organisations which encourage or advise on breastfeeding get involved in

promoting their own activities in affiliation with the week.



The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) is one of the country’s biggest

charities promoting breastfeeding and it participates in the awareness

week every year. Janice Muir Associates worked with the charity on its

’You Can Do It Here’ campaign, helping to take its message to companies

and local authorities.



Objective



To generate local interest in the NCT’s breastfeeding initiative and

ensure that NCT received a high level of coverage during the National

Breastfeeding Awareness Week.



Tactics



The National Childbirth Trust recently launched a publication called You

Can Do It Here - a guide to breastfeeding-friendly locations. This guide

is a part of the You Can Do It Here initiative which aims to encourage

more places to support breastfeeding women so they can feed their babies

in public without fear or prejudice.



To kick off the campaign, the Breastfeeding Friendly Awards were

launched at the London Aquarium, an event which was attended by

politicians, mothers and members of the press.



With the charity’s specific ’friendly location’ message, Janice Muir

Associates decided to concentrate on the local and regional media,

partly because the DoH planned to target the nationals and women’s

magazines, but also to reach local authorities and businesses.



Local branches of the NCT were provided with a campaign pack including a

draft press release, advice on organising a photocall, TV and radio

interviews and a supply of Breastfeeding Friendly 1998 stickers. They

were also supplied with a suggested letter to send to local

newspapers.



Some branches of the NCT have their own press officers who liaised with

the team at the Janice Muir Partnership. Other branches came back for

more information, or submitted drafts of press releases for

assistance.



A national press release was also sent out, which smaller branches

capitalised on by following the advice in the campaign pack.



Results



The regional and local papers covered this story in depth, and the

advice about arranging photocalls paid off, with most stories

accompanied by pictures of local mothers who support the call for more

breastfeeding-friendly locations.



Coverage proved positive and supportive of the demands, and some local

papers weren’t shy about criticising the lack of council support for the

initiative.



The local and regional coverage lead to many national media picking up

on the You Can Do It Here campaign, and it ended up generating coverage

in the Express, Pride magazine, the Caribbean Times and the Jewish

Chronicle.



Since the launch there has been an increase in the number of companies

and local authorities signing up for the Breastfeeding Friendly

campaign, including high-profile companies such as Virgin Atlantic and

Alton Towers.



Verdict



For a campaign that was started at a grassroots level, the impact has

been far ranging. The campaign successfully motivated the local branches

of the NCT which then did a good job of selling it on to local

media.



Breastfeeding in public is still a contentious issue, but campaigns such

as this will go a long way in breaking down prejudice.



Client: National Childbirth Trust

PR Team: Janice Muir Associates

Campaign: You Can Do It Here

Timescale: March to May 1998

Budget: pounds 5,000



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