Saturday 2 July 2011

Saturday Kitchen Attack

OK, so it was only twitter; it's not real life and nothing will change if it just ends here. However, bigger things have started with less, and it's hard to believe that at least a few cages haven't been rattled1.

It all started a week ago when Neil Bowness tweeted2 that it was strange that Saturday Kitchen regularly plugs imported wines that can be bought in major supermarkets but regularly fails to mention British Beer. A mutual twitter friend, Vickie Hunter, asked if there was anyone we could complain to. This set me thinking that there probably was. To me, the obvious snub given to the beverage that is indigenous to Britain, seems to be broadcasting bias, so I complained to OfCom.

I also decided to write a press release, which was helpfully edited and distributed by Tim Hampson, the chairman of the Guild of Beer Writers. This generated some further publicity on local radio and papers as well as a sniff from the Independent, although for the latter I expect it will get no further than their blog.

This morning we flooded the Saturday Kitchen hashtag with beer matches and various other beer and food related comments. Although difficult to measure as all the previous records for Saturday Kitchen tweets seem too unimportant for the search tools to find, we can be sure we made a difference. We created over 1500 tweets and I am certain that the production team now know we are here.

There is a Facebook page now dedicated to the cause of raising the profile of good beer in the media, please like it and contribute with comments, or links to blog posts etc. I'm hoping this will not be the end of the matter. It's called Libeeration, which I'm told is a play on words. Libation is the act of partaking in alcoholic beverages, beer is an alcoholic beverage and liberation is the act of freeing from previous constraints. It wasn't my idea, it was the brainchild of The Director of vituperation, @AKA_Franklin.

However, I am concerned that this will just be a flash in the pan. Hopefully we'll do the same next Saturday, but I expect the novelty will wear off and it would take a significantly greater event to get us noticed enough to change the way major media people think about beer. I expect it is going to take a real life publicity stunt. Beer and food picnic outside the studio anyone?

Meanwhile I've been accused of this being a publicity stunt for Hardknott. I would hope that my readers are clever enough to feel that their intelligence is being called into question if I tried to deny that this is part of my motive. However, I hope that this shows our whole publicity ethos is one of playing to the all-inclusive nature of beer. Yes, we will occasionally have a pop at things that are in conflict with what we do, and that includes other sectors of the beer market on occasions, but we do firmly buy into the concept that we must all consider what is good for beer in the long run.

Other perceptions on the morning's events have been chronicled by Beer Beauty, Pub Champion and Thatchers Arms.


1The series producer is quite obviously ignoring us on twitter. Several of us have tweeted directly at him. Mind you, I also know that abuse is thrown at the program because a few people don't like some of the presenters. I'm guessing that success is often accompanied by abuse and it might be worth remembering that what we did today could be cited as abuse.

2I'm slightly miffed that searches have failed to find the original tweets.


The Beer Nut said...

If you want this to work you need to stop namechecking your own beer. No matter how sincerely held your beliefs on the food-matching potential of Queboid, Infra Red etc, every time you mention them, it looks like a shill. The same goes for Kristy's bigging-up of Cobra and the Sharps beers this morning. Any mention of a beer you have a financial interest in weakens your campaign, IMO.

The other lesson for today was just how much pointless nasty abuse there is on Twitter. Who gets up on a Saturday morning just to tell The Internet how much they dislike Marcus Brigstocke? Quite a lot of people, it turns out. Saddos.

Unknown said...

Beer Nut,

I know what you are saying regarding my own beers, and I entered into this intending restraint. However, we all have our own motives for being involved and in the heat of the moment, wishing just to fill the hashtag with tweets, it is difficult not to suggest beers one is intimate with.

Although I wish to not make this appear, or even be, just a Hardknott publicity stunt, what I want more than anything is for as many people to be involved as possible. I think it'll work best by shear numbers, and if other breweries want to get involved by mentioning their beers I'm all for that, even if it does include Molson Coors too.

Unknown said...

Oh, and meant to say, I really don't get the point of spending time on twitter carrying out character assassinations on individuals, smacks of celebrity envy.

I am certain that all the people involved with Saturday Kitchen a great people; it's the culture that needs to be changed, not the individuals.

StringersBeer said...

They can't all be "great people" Dave. I mean, statistically, some of the people working on the show have to be complete tossers.

Also, I think there's a bit of a misunderstanding over responsibilities of the producers of the show. It's not a BBC production is it? We've the good people at Cactus TV to thank for it. And they're not answerable to us, the people - they answer to whoever it is at the Beeb commissions this kind of stuff (and the Ross clan of course). As long as the show delivers the ratings, they've no reason to change it.

Essentially, S.K. is just a clip show padded out with celebrity fluff. Which is pretty much exactly what you'd expect from those particular producers.

If there is a beer revolution going on, don't expect it to be on TV - until it's done and dusted. This kind of show is never going to be part of the solution and by acting so desperate to be noticed by it, we run the risk of looking just desperate. F*ck 'em, I say. Let them run after us.

Unknown said...

Stringers, in many ways I like your laid-back attitude, and for you it will probably result in lower blood pressure, well done. However, I could also accuse you of being defeatist.

Regarding the relationship between commissioning organisation, production companies and presenters, writers and producers, I think that is a whole new subject.

In the meantime, I think that PR is an interesting subject, you don't get noticed and therefore become successful without pissing a few people off.

I know that and I suspect Cactus do too. After all, it's a prickly subject.

StringersBeer said...

You're missing my point Dave. S.K. DOESN'T F-ING MATTER to us. I can't see why it would to you. They've got an audience of a couple of million people, kidding themselves they care about food while some celebrity pretends to care about food as they plug their latest product. There's no way S.K. can be ahead of the curve. To be so would lose the audience that they have. Beer & Food stuff will be on S.K. after it's gone mainstream. The places this will happen - hence the targets for our efforts, I'd suggest - are necessarily elsewhere.

Cooking Lager said...

Who cooks the missus a nice meal and opens a decent bottle of wine from time to time?

Anyone that likes having sex.

Who cooks the missus a nice meal and opens some bottles of weird hoppy beer?

Beer geeks and we all know that beer geeks don't have sex.

What to put in a popular TV cookery show? Something that appeals to all.

If you want to have a pop at TV, why not moan about the rubbish beer TV that is made, which appears little different from Top Gear, rather than nice shows featuring wine?

Unknown said...

Stringers and Cookie, I'm sure you are both right and Saturday Kitchen is a bad choice of target.

I'm not that experienced at this PR lark and I'm sure I'm making lots of mistakes as I go along.

However, I do dispute the sex accusation, obviously I can't speak for other beer geeks, but I find that I'm quite replete in that department.

Neil, Eating isn't Cheating said...

Hi dave,

you can easily find the original tweets by going to the said person twitter profile and licking 'tweets' or you can use to monitor retweets and track whos saying what. Simply type in a search term