While no self-respecting PR person would dream of capitalising on the
misfortunes of the beef industry, PR advisers to producers of non-bovine
foodstuffs are not blind to the publicity opportunities.
‘Turkeys are flying off the shelves as we speak,’ says Keith Simpson, MD
of Nexus PR, which has handled PR for the British Turkey Federation
since 1988. ‘We are not doing anything to disadvantage beef farmers,’ he
adds in a more sombre tone.
The story’s the same at the British Salmon Board. ‘We are just getting
on with persuading people that salmon is good to eat,’ says spokesman
John Webster, although he tells me that trade enquiries have gone
through the roof.
The Vegetarian Society, with its current militant anti-beef ad campaign,
also denies its press team have been rubbing carnivores’ noses in it.
‘We haven’t issued any press releases over BSE,’ said spokesman Steve
‘It is wrong to make any capital out of something so tragic. British
consumers are angry and upset and if someone from the Vegetarian Society
appeared on TV saying ‘yah boo sucks’ they would be seen as
antagonistic,’ he adds.
But he gleefully admits the society has sent out ‘hundreds’ of
information packs daily and hasn’t been shy to add its two penn’orth to
the ever-mounting media frenzy.
‘We are a winner in the situation,’ he says.