Ogilvy and Mather has landed a pounds 250,000 emergency campaign for the
Government aimed at allaying the public’s fears over the so-called mad
The national newspaper blitz was drawn up in great secrecy to coincide
with new scientific advice out this week suggesting there was a bigger
chance of a link between the disease and its human equivalent than
O&M was called in for talks at the Department of Health on Tuesday for a
campaign due to break this Thursday.
It is being run jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Health officials turned to O&M because there was no time to organise a
pitch. It is a standby agency for the Central Office of Information and
worked on the Department of Health’s anti-drugs campaign until last
year. ‘We wanted an agency we knew,’ one Whitehall source said.
The three-day press push was designed to counter fears about the safety
of British beef after the Health Secretary, Stephen Dorrell, revealed
the new scientific advice in a Commons statement.
The ads, still being drafted as Campaign went to press, were expected to
contain no creative work, but to repeat a statement by Sir Kenneth
Calman, the Government’s chief medical officer, reassuring the public
about the safety of beef products. They will also promote a new
recorded-message service which the public can telephone to find out the
Despite the greater-than-expected risk, the Government insists there is
no proven link between Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and the related
condition, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which occurs in humans, but
affects only one person in a million worldwide.
The campaign is aimed at preventing another slump in the sales of
British beef, which fell by 15 per cent last December after some experts
expressed doubts over whether the product was safe.