Public relations is sometimes criticised for being fluffy – and its reputation is not enhanced by such poor general knowledge as shown in a reported press release from Somerfield supermarket (which is not on its media website).
Ironically, the release reporting a survey claiming : many youngsters have no idea what Easter signifies, stated:
the tradition of giving Easter eggs was to celebrate the ‘birth of Jesus’.
When this error was noted, a second release claimed: Easter marks the ‘rebirth of Christ’. Third time lucky, after consulting with the Church of England (yes, really it needed some holy intervention), this dimwit PR person realised Easter symbolises the ‘resurrection’ of Jesus.
Beyond the lack of factual understanding, I remain unclear how the survey and press release achieves any objective for Somerfield except maybe, possibly, some media coverage – which it has got now for the wrong reasons.
The Church charitably claimed the error was ‘genuine mistake, if a rather unfortunate one’ – going on with an appropriate message for the supermarkets that:
‘Easter is as hollow as most chocolate eggs if we don’t take the chance to think about what it means – that Jesus died, was buried and was resurrected to show us the power of God’s love – the power that allows us all to be born to new life. ‘Many of these figures are encouraging, with a fifth of the nation planning to celebrate Easter in church this Sunday – though, of course, we wish that figure was even higher.’
The story is “credited” to Brando – which has a picture of a zebra-striped camel on its homepage – so clearly religious knowledge isn’t the only weakness of its “formidable bunch of characters”.
Update: The Times religion correspondent names and shames: “The press release was written by Hayley Booth, 30, of the PR agency Brando. Ms Booth, who was privately educated, told The Times that she had corrected the release as soon as she became aware of the error.”