In October, the London Scottish Regiment found itself on a list of
Territorial Army infantry units to be axed under the Strategic Defence
Review. Other proposals could have seen it reduced to a 30-man
London Scottish is one of four regiments within the London Regiment
which was restructured under the previous Government’s defence cuts in
1993 to comprise company-sized regiments (120 men). This was held up as
a model of how to implement cost-cutting measures while retaining the
traditions and cap-badges of different regiments.
To raise the profile of the regiment and its heritage and make the issue
of its closure ’too prickly’ to confirm.
Greenwood Tighe was brought in to draw up a communications strategy and
handle media and electronic communications in support of the
The campaign began via a web site which launched on 26 October outlining
that the London Scottish was facing its most important battle yet.
The site urged supporters to write to MPs, Defence Secretary George
Robertson and Tony Blair and key points to be made were listed. The site
also featured a regimental history and a facility for visitors to e-mail
Michael Evans, defence editor of the Times, was offered an exclusive
briefing about the fight for survival using the internet.
’We decided to target one influential publication that had appeared
fairly sympathetic to our cause and we thought that the people who would
make the decision about cuts would be more likely to read the Times,’
said Adam Roscoe, managing director of Greenwood Tighe, who managed the
campaign along with Colonel Holliday.
Peter Brooke, the Conservative MP for Westminster - whose constituency
houses the Regimental HQ - requested a briefing in advance of a debate
in the House of Commons on the Strategic Defence Review. To maintain
consistency, his briefing was similar to that given to the Times.
The agency also exploited unexpected opportunities. The French
Government awarded the Legion d’Honneur to all surviving soldiers of
World War I one of whom was Harold Judd - a 100-year-old former member
of the London Scottish and a real enthusiast for the campaign. He was
presented with his award on 31 October at the Regimental HQ in
The Times ran a story on 2 November which carried the key messages and
Harold Judd travelled to Flanders where he was presented to the Queen on
Remembrance Day. Wearing his cap badge, Harold appeared in all major
national newspapers and on television.
The web site received 1,200 hits in its first three days and letters to
the Times kept the debate running.
Although there were fears right up until the restructuring was announced
on 17 November that the regiment would be cut, the London Scottish did
emerge unscathed from the SDR.
The multi-media element effectively supported and fed an intensive
lobbying and letter-writing campaign. The profile of Harold Judd and the
intervention of Peter Brooke created a positive mix of support and
profile at the critical time in the SDR. Although it is difficult to
argue cause and effect, as infantry regiments were the main targets for
cuts, in that respect the campaign can be judged a success.
Client: The London Scottish Regiment
PR team: Honorary Colonel Richard Holliday and Greenwood Tighe PR
Campaign: To save the regiment from closure
Timescale: 26 October - 18 November 1998
Budget: Approximately pounds 5,000