The £4.5m MLC-backed generic pig advertising campaign promoting the British Meat Quality Standard Mark broke on May 11 and provoked a storm of controversy ­ and even within the British industry. It was, of course, deeply resented by pigmeat importers who were particularly upset by the suggestion that UK welfare demands have not been taken into account when shipping product. But speaking at the National Pig Awards breakfast on November 1, agriculture minister Mick Brown said the campaign had: "the right approach." And MLC chairman Don Curry, speaking from the same platform, said: "It is right to build an image for British pigmeat that focuses on welfare issues. The message received by consumers is a positive one." A key player in the campaign, MLC marketing manager pigmeat Chris Lukehurst, shows no sign of changing his mind, either. "There's no evidence to say that these ads have stopped anyone buying pigmeat," he said. "Those two ads made many people in the trade, let alone the general public, stop and think." He can find no indication in TNS data that there have been any significant changes. "Nor have retailers come forward with their sales data to say Look what you've done to our sales figures', either. A second burst appeared in the mainstream women's press through the autumn. Lukehurst accepts this may not seem an immediately obvious choice. "Our research said that about 50% of British consumers are not interested in pig welfare ­ and most of those are men. So we are addressing the 50% that are ­ which suits us, because women are also the gatekeepers to the household." The stated aim of the campaign was to reinforce consumer awareness of the British Quality Bacon and Pork marks. "Prompted recognition of the marks is stable, at around 80%," said Lukehurst. "We're seeing a trend in the right direction: more people are looking for the mark. This is only planting the seed. You've got to get changes in attitude before you change purchasing decisions." {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}