What a great way to start the week. We have three pieces of positive #BalloonRelease news!
As March drew to a close we talked to the British magazine Horse & Hound about the Marine Conservation Society‘s online pledge. The MCS is actively urging people to sign their pledge to help the charity create an interactive map, to show support for balloon release bans around the UK.
As you can see in the news cutting below, we are delighted that news of the MCS #BalloonRelease Pledge made it into Horse & Hound.
“The Marine Conservation Society launched a campaign on 22 March, calling on people to lobby the councils to ban balloon and lantern releases, as it has seen the harm they cause to sea and shore life.”
TUMC’s Roz Lunn was also quoted in this article.
‘Rosemary Lunn, who works in communications in the diving industry, pointed out that Helium is a finite resource and is needed for vital work in medicine. “Times have moved on and ideas need to change”, she said.’
The second piece of good news comes from Australia and concerns a support group called ‘The Compassionate Friends‘. This group helps bereaved parents and siblings by providing opportunities for families to come together. One of TCF SA’s key events is an annual balloon release. This year’s event was due to be held on Sunday 23rd April.
It should be stated that TCF SA did not understand the impact of ‘environmentally friendly’ latex balloons until No Balloon Release Australia advised them according.
After learning the facts, a committee member of TCF SA and an organiser of the balloon release event confirmed that the group would immediately look into an environmentally friendly alternative event to replace the balloon release.
“Our information previously had been that by using supposedly biodegradable balloons, our event was safe for the environment. We’re saddened to know this is not the case.
It seems we are harming the environment by releasing balloons – this is certainly not our intention – so the committee will revise the plans for the event and come up with another way to acknowledge our precious children.”
Well done to all concerned.
And finally an update on last week’s Poundbakery balloon release.
Earlier today Poundbakery released the following statement via social media.
“We at Poundbakery are incredibly sorry for last week’s balloon release PR stunt. Whilst we did use biodegradable materials, we did not realise that these materials could still have such a negative impact on the environment and wildlife. We were both naive and ignorant of the devastation this can cause, which is why we would like to donate £1000 to an environmental charity. We are currently in the process of looking for a local north west based charity and will update you all when we have found the right one.”
Thank you Poundbakery for listening.
Did you hear the one about Poundbakery, who thought it would be a fab idea to potentially maim and kill wildlife, whilst wantonly littering the Greater Manchester area?
It is quite possible however that you read about the bakery releasing 500 helium balloons, containing free sandwich vouchers in Bolton, as a PR stunt.
This ill conceived stunt, along with Poundbakery’s Marketing Manager, Keely Palin, certainly both deserve an entry in this year’s PR Hall of Shame.
Barely 20 days ago, on 20th March, Horse and Hound reported that a young horse ran through a gate, broke two of her legs and then her neck after choking on a helium balloon that had landed in her field.
Keely Palin told The Bolton News on 7th March 2017, “The sky is the limit with this campaign and we can’t wait to see where the balloons end up.”
Whilst Bolton and Greater Manchester are not known for their turtle population, it is a shame that Ms Palin seems to have not yet grasped that the environment needs to be positively accounted for when planning and executing every piece of PR.
At present the Marine Conservation Society is urging the public to back the banning of all balloon releases.
Currently over 50 UK local authorities including Cornwall County, Durham, Monmouthshire, Worcestershire etc, have agreed to implement a ban on balloon and lantern releases on their land.
After releasing the 500 balloons, Poundbakery proudly posted the following statement on their Facebook page.
“As promised, here’s the video of the balloon release…we can confirm that the balloons (complete with FREE LUNCH vouchers) headed South East, towards Yorkshire and Manchester. However, with the British weather, they could be anywhere by now. Keep a lookout and post any pictures of the balloons in the sky…happy hunting!”
Poundbakery is encouraging everyone to tweet a photo of themselves with their Poundbakery voucher to @poundbakery with the hashtag #FreeLunch and #GoLarge. Alternatively you could always email Poundbakery with your views on balloon releases.
The hashtags for the campaign to stop balloon releases include #Pollution, #Litter, #BalloonsBlow, #Wildlife and #DontLetGo
So Ms Keely Palin. Here’s a piece of advice. A bad publicity stunt is memorable for all the wrong reasons, so here is a chance to make it right.
- Organise a Poundbakery sponsored beach clean
- Donate funds to the Marine Conservation Society to help them educate others who don’t understand just how damaging balloon releases can be
- Sign the MCS’s pledge to help the charity ban balloon releases
- And how about feeding 500 homeless people? One for every balloon you released!
Now has anyone got Bolton Council’s telephone number to get them to ban balloon releases?