Karoline (with a K) despatches me to the NFU Conference in the mistaken belief that because Daddy owns some land in the Cotswolds, I’ll have a natural affinity with wealthy farmers, out in force here in their dosh-stuffed dusky pink cord trousers and checked hunting jackets. As it happens, there’s neither affinity nor any ability to get the tightfisted sons of the soil to commit to funding any of the numerous P&F-run generic agrifood promo campaigns for which I have the outline plans in my orange Cambridge Satchel. Alas, it quickly becomes clear that farmers didn’t get that rich by spending money on “nonsense” like marketing. Even my Vivienne Westwood Little Bo Peep dress fails to charm the rustics.
Still, a lot of the AHDB wonks have made their way from Stoneleigh to Birmingham for the event, which is useful because places on all of their three-year marketing rosters will be up for grabs again soon. K’s instruction is to smarm my way around anyone connected with British beef, lamb, pork, bacon or sausages. As I pointed out, getting my mitigation in beforehand, AHDB didn’t turn into the successful marketing powerhouse it has become by doing anything so rash as changing agencies. There may be a procurement window about to open, but when it shuts the same suppliers will still be in place.
Call me cynical, but I’ve learnt at the knee of a mistress. The ability to change horses halfway through something is part of the PR art. So as our plans for Ukrainian Food Fortnight later this month crumbled, K was on the phone trying to persuade Latvia or Scotland “or some other godforsaken hellhole” to take it on, on the basis that no one would notice the difference.