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April Fools: a dish best served with PR

1 Apr


Pinch, punch first of the month and no returns white rabbit. Gotcha!

Now that’s over with it’s time to remember another special day in the PR calendar: April Fools.

So, let’s get straight to it. Here’s a nod to some top brave brands that have mixed the right ingredients (a pinch of believability, an ounce of doubt and a sprinkle of brashness all blended and baked for 20min on ‘creativity’) to make some clever, and suspect, PR-driven April Fools’ Day stories.

1. Virgin’s glass-bottomed jet
Branson announced today that his empire – Virgin – has developed the technology to introduce the world’s first glass-bottomed plane (pictured above.) One word. Genius.

2. SPAM launches Easter egg
This year the obvious news hook for April Fools is Easter, but this campaign just reeks of chopped up ham. Apparently SPAM has extended its range with an Easter egg including mini ham treats covered in chocolate – an unusual and delightful pairing (pictured below.) Available in supermarkets today, that’s the giveaway.

3. Mumsnet launches vajazzling course
Online parenting community Mumsnet has launched a vajazzling course for members including a keynote talk from former TOWIE star Amy Childs. Why? Because, as any new mum knows, appearance is the first luxury to be sacrificed when caring for a baby. In my mind the Mumsnet members are vicious roller derby players with babes in arms. They’re definitely not to be messed with. Vajazzle, really?

4. Twitter tax
Twitter has announced that it’ll begin charging tweeters for using vowels – although foreign language options will remain unaffected. For $5 a month, users can update to its premium service where all letters are available. A good try because it does make you look twice.

5. Cats crackdown on yobs in Croydon
There’s times when I have to represent Croydon and this is it. A faux feline story reports that cats are being trained and given top technology to patrol antisocial areas before reporting back to the authorities and the cats’ HQ: the Mobile Evening Observation Wing (or Meow for short.)

Spotted any more? Drop me a line and I’ll add it to the hall of fame.


Call the ‘Ambu-lunch’

22 Jun

Over the past month I’ve been working on something quite unusual – transforming an ambulance into an ‘Ambu-lunch’.

As part of Unilever Food Solutions’ latest campaign to drive the message home that chefs have the power to transform the health of the nation – by reducing the value of their dishes by just 24 calories – the ‘Ambu-lunch’ is currently educating the hospitality industry on small changes that will transform their dishes and meet customers’ needs.

Although more than half of customers actively look for healthier options when eating out, just as many believe that the lighter option will be tasteless and leave them feeling hungry, according to Unilever Food Solutions’ World Menu Report 3: Seductive Nutrition. I, myself, am one of them. Yes – more people are eating out more often. But, eating out in pubs, bars and restaurants is, and should always be, a treat.

However, if chefs can make my burgers, pizzas and roast dinners slightly healthier by swapping ingredients or making small tweaks during the cooking process, without me tasting anything different, then it’s a win-win situation, and a restaurant I’ll want to visit again.

Following the unveiling of the ‘Ambu-lunch’ outside the Houses of Parliament this week by the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley and Celebrity MasterChef winner, the vehicle is visiting some of the countries unhealthiest towns to encourage chefs to take the 24 calorie challenge, and asking if they can taste the difference.

The ‘Ambu-lunch’ looks great and is a fantastic visual to push Unilever Food Solutions’ campaign forward. It’s certainly a first in the foodservice industry and captures the attention of chefs and consumers alike. If we can get people talking about the issue of healthy eating and then doing something about it, we’ll be one step closer to tackling this obesity epidemic once and for all.

How important is healthy eating to you? Do chefs have responsibility to encourage you to eat healthier when dining out?

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