Stick with me people, this may seem a bit off-piste but right here, right now, in my own fair shire, the badger bothering brigade are cranking up their dismal PR campaign.
Bottom line, their campaign is failing for a number of reasons and so I thought, being the top notch PR-advice-giver that I am, I would give them some free tips and advice on how to get more attention.
I have absolutely no opinion on badgers at all. I know they get really bad press from the farmers in my local village pub but whenever I have come across one in my car (a 4x4, I live in the sticks) - as in driven past one that is still alive and trundling up a lane - they have seemed ok to me.
BUT, the badger savers are getting no traction in the media and so here are my top tips for changing that:
1. One of the protesters needs to get accidentally shot a little bit
The most controversial suggestion goes first. If the badger botherers want to get front page national and international action then one of them needs to take one for the team and get a little bit shot by one of the cull farmers.
I am not suggesting fatally, that would be far too much, but just a little flesh wound. Survival is key for keeping the story in the press. A bedside interview from hospital, a doorstep interview as they leave hospital in a wheelchair, and then a big splash on them getting back into the woods where they were shot to once again protest.
The pesky farmers are one step ahead at the minute though; they are pleading for the protesters to wear high-vis jackets etc. If the protesters listen to me, maybe even fake it, they could take their cause to a global scale.
2. Get a sexier headline-provoking celebrity
Let’s face it, Brian May, whilst looking a bit like a well-coiffured badger, is not a headline grabbing act. He of ex-Queen fame is, as I type, on his way to Gloucestershire to support the badger protection troops and motivate them. I suspect he hardly gets them cartwheeling.
Team Badger needs to get someone on board like Helen Flanagan or Imogen Thomas. These are two brands that are always getting love in the big ticket titles like the Daily Mail. I can guarantee that were they to rock up to support the badger savers, they would draw a big crowd and swell the membership numbers.
3. Protesters tidy up their act a bit
So, how did this whole thing come to my attention? Let me explain. The other night I went on a client night out. I left my car at work and had to get the bus into the office from home the next morning.
While stood in our only village bus stop, a bearded, bedraggled female wearing clearly home-knitted clothing approached me while also reaching for her rainbow-striped bum bag. Just as I was about to dispense a preemptive, defensive, MacBook Pro to the face, she thrust a “save the badger” leaflet at me and asked if I “had any information”.
At that point I did not even know the badger cull was taking place anywhere near where I lived.
I did what every self-respecting PR would do in this situation and smiled but ignored her. I think many other potential cause-supporters like myself would engage more with these people if they just tidied themselves up a bit.
4. Stop using Comic Sans in protest posters and leaflets
I am not the best when it comes to design but even I know there are two main rules: 1. Never use Comic Sans unless you are a primary school teacher. 2. Don’t use hand-drawn pictures of badgers in any marketing material.
The posters are a bit sinister and they seem very French Resistance, only with worse spelling, and the aforementioned hand-drawn illustrations of badgers.
Surely the protesters have kids with hooky copies of Photoshop that they could get to whip them up a less sinister set of marketing materials?
5. Get media trained
As a general rule, if someone involuntary grunts every seventh word, they are not your best bet as your media spokesperson.
Media interviews can be stressful to many, but a little training can go a long way; as can making sure that you pick the most clearly audible person you have.
My local radio station gives the protesters loads of airtime, but whenever I tune in they are accidentally growling into the mic and sound like the types of people you see banging on about real ale rather than sensible opinions and ideas.
Come on badger botherers, sort your act out and yes, I am free for a two-hour free consultation. I will even wear my Ghillie jacket (no really, I do have one after a brief incident between my neighbour’s poultry and a fox caused a community task force to be set up.)