Bernard Matthews is to scrap the famous 'Bootiful' catchphase in its latest advertising campaign, because people now associate it with headlines about avian influenza (AI).
Matthew Pullen, marketing director for Bernard Matthews, said the cynical use of the slogan in the past few months to describe the company's products as 'not so bootiful' meant the latest £2m ad campaign would drop the word in favour of a new slogan - 'Turkey for Today'.
Pullen told MTJ the company had still not recovered from the massive drop in sales it suffered after the outbreak of AI on one of its Suffolk farms, when it was rumoured sales had fallen by 40%. However, he said just over half of those who stopped buying products in February have now returned.
The advertising campaign on TV and radio, which is to start on 1 August, will target Bernard Matthews' core market of busy families. The company has recruited former Olympic swimmer and mother of three, Sharron Davies, to front a publicity campaign. She will also appear in recipe leaflets and attend promotional events to talk about Bernard Matthews' products.
As well as AI, Bernard Matthews has had to deal with several other publicity crises, such as Jamie Oliver attacking turkey twizzlers and two separate abuse cases, where workers were filmed mistreating turkeys. In the first, two men were given community service for "playing baseball" with live turkeys. The second, more recent case, involved a man kicking turkeys.
Pullen told MTJ he fully supported the RSPCA, which brought charges, and said he thought the community service sentences were "derisory". Cruelty is not just wrong, it is bad for business, he said. "We do not accept that kind of cruelty to animals, because if we get unhealthy birds that have been treated badly, you don't get good quality meat."
Pullen likened the actions of the workers to football hooligans, who give all fans a bad name. "The actions of one individual do not represent the majority," he said.