News Overview of the Week 30.04.08

By April 4, 2008General

News Overview of the weekIt’s that time again when we look back over the past week and pick through the interesting bits…and first up we have an excellent example of why proper planning is paramount before any publicity seeking activity.

You may remember the news some weeks ago that Mark Boyle, a former organic food company boss and now a member of the “freeconomy” movement (which aims to get rid of money altogether in order to foster a return to community based living) decided to walk from Bristol to India without any form of currency to show his faith in humanity and, presumably, promote his philosophy. Well, the attempt has failed after reaching Calais, when it was realised that no one in the party spoke French. Farcical.

More bad news elsewhere with the revelation that the UK’s first Energy Saving Day (held between 6pm on Wednesday February 26th and 6pm on the 27th) ended with no noticeable reduction in electricity consumption. This disappointing result as, in the main, been blamed on a poor publicity campaign – despite that event having the backing of Greenpeace, Christian Aid, the RSPB and major energy companies such as EDF, E.On and Scottish Power.

Originally conceived and backed by the BBC the project became an independent affair when Auntie pulled out in the face of poor audiences for Live Earth and a public debate over whether it was the corporation’s job to “save the planet”. Surely it’s apparent that any major campaign needs a committed, clever and clear publicity campaign. Well, it must be by now.

In fact, things seem to be gloomy across the board – more falling house prices, Magners sales down by 9%, Dell’s profits dropping, gaming group Rank announcing profit slowdowns and a tough year ahead…why, anyone would think we were teetering on the brink of a recession.

It’s not all bad news though; there are bound to be plenty of PR opportunities on both sides after conservative peer Lord Mancroft addressed the House of Lords with a statement that his 2007 hospital stay had seen him exposed to, “grubby…lazy…slipshod” nurses and went on to say that, “It’s a miracle I’m still alive. But worst of all my Lords, they were drunken and promiscuous.” This outburst came during a debate on NHS patient care. We expect it’s going to get nasty.

News also that Mars are about to revive their iconic “Work, Rest and Play” strap line for a new ad campaign beginning in March. Updated to a more contemporary “Work, Rest, Play” it heralds a fresh push from the firm…though maybe a campaign highlighting their green credentials would have been a better idea – Nielsen (the research company) are reporting that the fastest growing brands in 2007 were those that were kinder to the environment or had environmental concerns at the heart of their brand strategy. Are we entering a new era of ethical consumerism? Food for thought we think.

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