The Red Cross has campaigned for a worldwide ban on anti-personnel
mines since 1995. Last year, despite donated advertising space and
widespread coverage, the British Red Cross experienced a ’real struggle’
to create awareness and raise funds.
In November, Diana, Princess of Wales, agreed to attend a film premiere
in aid of the campaign. Following detailed briefings the Princess asked
to see the organisation’s work with landmine victims and a visit to
Angola, one of the countries worst affected by landmines, was
To regenerate the anti-personnel landmines campaign. To influence
political opinion. To re-establish the Red Cross as the leading
Non-Government Organisation in the worldwide move towards banning
Scheduling constraints meant that the Red Cross had a week in which to
agree to an itinerary, alert key press and obtain Foreign Office
To ensure media attention focused on landmines, the trip was positioned
as a working visit, which the Princess undertook as a Red Cross
On arrival in Angola, media strategy concentrated on organising at least
one photo opportunity per day, and daily briefings to UK and foreign
Arrangements included providing producers of BBC TV’s Heart of the
Matter with unprecedented access to the Princess, for their documentary
Diary of a Princess.
In the UK, Conservative MPs accused the Princess of taking a political
stance on the landmines issue but the Red Cross countered this by
emphasising the Princess’s humanitarian role. The Princess reiterated
this message in interviews with PA and three TV news crews.
The visit generated 92 national and 285 regional cuttings, while TV news
coverage totalled almost 90 minutes. The Heart of the Matter was watched
by 5.5 million viewers. A poll on 22 January showed that 90 per cent of
the British public supported a global landmines ban. Between 31 January
and 31 July 1997 the British Red Cross anti-personnel landmines campaign
raised pounds 580,000 compared with under pounds 100,000 in 1996.
Journalists and the Red Cross agree that the Princess’ trip had
far-reaching effects. Political criticism largely backfired - to defuse
the row the Conservative Government stated its broad support for the
The Red Cross now has a campaign which is recognised globally and the
organisation is frequently mentioned in media coverage of landmines.
Following her visit, the Princess appeared to adopt the campaign as a
personal crusade. Her involvement coincided with increased commitment
from countries around the world to a total ban on landmines.
Describing her as ’irreplaceable’, the Red Cross now faces the challenge
of continuing the Princess’s work with out her.
Client: The British Red Cross
PR Team: In-house
Campaign: Against anti-personnel landmines
Timescale: 5 to 16 January 1997
Budget: pounds 20,000