NEWS: Mad cow panic forces British beef off screen

The British beef fiasco has forced the Meat and Livestock Commission to axe a campaign which focused on beef and was due to go out nationally on Friday.

The British beef fiasco has forced the Meat and Livestock Commission to

axe a campaign which focused on beef and was due to go out nationally on

Friday.



It is understood that the Commission had booked pounds 1 million worth

of television airtime to launch its new advertising, written by John

Webster, BMP’s executive creative director. The ad was due to replace

the last execution which promoted pork.



The commission’s beef and lamb promotions manager, Andrew Ovens,

confirmed the decision to pull out.



‘In the light of what has been said about British beef we decided to

review all our activity and not to go ahead with the campaign,’ he said.

‘All of our advertising has been put on hold.’



Meanwhile, the Department of Health has changed its mind about launching

an emergency campaign, through Ogilvy and Mather, to reassure the public

about the safety of British beef. O&M was commissioned to produce a

pounds 250,000 national press blitz (Campaign, last week). However, a

spokesman for the department confirmed the idea had been dropped.



‘In the event, we decided there was no need to spend money on

advertising because of the vast amount of press coverage,’ he said. ‘We

have no plans for advertising. We don’t see that happening in the short

term.’



Burger King is the only hamburger chain to have advertised beef-based

products recently. Its latest work, through D’Arcy Masius Benton and

Bowles, finished last Sunday, according to a spokeswoman.



Unlike its larger rival, McDonald’s, Burger King has continued to sell

hamburgers made with British beef, until supplies can be sourced from

elsewhere.



McDonald’s activity is now restricted to a campaign based on its 99p

breakfasts, which do not contain beef. The chain dropped hamburgers from

its menu on Sunday, until this Thursday, when it began to replace

British beef with overseas meat.



According to John Hawkes, McDonald’s vice-president, chief marketing

officer, there are no plans to drop advertising campaigns, although he

expressed relief that the chain is not currently advertising hamburgers.



A spokeswoman for Birds Eye, which suspended beefburger production on

Tuesday, said: ‘The situation is so fluid that our advertising is under

discussion.’