Friday, May 14, 2010

Winston Who?

PR disguised as news, designed to elicit loud tuts of dismay from various people concerned about the teaching of British history, but really giving much needed publicity for the client:

By 2090 future generations will no longer recognise Winston Churchill, new research revealed today.

It seems hard to believe amid the current political storm, but research commissioned by the Royal Mint found that, in 80 years' time, people will not recognise the former Prime Minister.

As part of the survey, carried out to mark this week's 70th anniversary of Churchill's prime ministerial tenure, more than 1,136 people were asked to identify three prominent 20th century PMs including Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.

One in five (19%) adults failed to name Churchill, with the figure rising to 32% of 25 to 34-year-olds and 44% of those aged 16 to 24.

The survey doesn't really explain how the level of public recognition can be extrapolated into the future (they give a method but is plainly absurd), because the purpose of the survey isn't to elicit information but to get the client in the news. Reading to the end of the article reveals what is actually going on:

Kevin Clancy, head of Historical Services at the Royal Mint, added: "It's shocking that one of our greatest statesmen runs the risk of potentially being forgotten.

"Churchill remains an historical colossus and is arguably one of the nation's greatest Britons.

"It's fundamentally important that we commemorate our heritage for future generations to celebrate, and to mark the 70 years that have passed since he was Prime Minister we're immensely proud to have designed a new £5 coin featuring an iconic Churchillian image, to help his memory live on."

What you have something to sell, I would never have guessed.

Why do newspapers report this crap as news?


banned said...

They report this crap as news because they have been sacking their journalists wholesale as their advertising revenues dive.

My once much loved Telegraph now devotes itself, after about page one and a half, to printing barely edited and often nonsense press releases from academia and medicine often headlined (as per The Daily Mash) "Everyone Dead By Teatime".

As you say, that article was merely to promote the Mints forthcoming Churchill £5 coin (good idea btw).

JuliaM said...

Yup, as Banned suggests, that last line was a rhetorical question, surely..? ;)

Mrs Rigby said...

"By 2090 future generations will no longer recognise Winston Churchill"

And how many people now could name Kitchener, Wellington etc?

As you say, it's non-news.

Ross said...

I think most people would know who Wellington was wouldn't they?

Matthew said...

I doubt they would actually from a b&w picture - I'm not sure I would definitely recognise him.

I note the story in the independent is just a reprint (source) of a PA story. So it's literally filler.

banned said...

This 'story' got about 2 inches in the Telegraph, single collumn and no mention of Royal Mint or their £5 coin.

Matthew said...

"My once much loved Telegraph"

Just out of interest do you stil buy a paper copy?

banned said...

Matthew, yes, either Saturday OR Sunday (of which all the supplements get left on the vendors counter or get put in the nearest bin) and once or twice during the week.