The Times October 11, 2006
… taxpayers’ money. Mark Borkowski, a PR and marketing expert, said: “The people who use MySpace are not going to fall for this. Things …
Backing for spoof band to the tune of £2.4m
By David Brown
NOT since Spinal Tap spoofed the excess of the rock’n’roll lifestyle has a more surreal band been foisted on the public.
In a £2.4 million marketing campaign the Government has formed a 1980s-style rock group to lecture the public on the risks of back pain.
The band, Bäackpain, has its own profile on MySpace, the social networking website, complete with blogs, video downloads and posters. It is being promoted in a nationwide newspaper, poster and radio campaign, which will make it one of the most recognisable bands in the country.
But the attempt by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to make back pain fashionable was met yesterday with derision. The band is, of course, a spoof invented to front the HSE’s Better Backs campaign, which launched on Monday. The band members’ names should be a clue: Kylie Crouch (vocals), David Bent (bass), Stoop Williams (drums) and Ben Yorney (guitar). Perhaps the HSE was inspired by Tony Blair who played guitar in a university band and who has been troubled by a bad back while Prime Minister.
By using MySpace, owned by the parent company of The Times, to promote the group the Government is attempting to tap into the cache of the site that launched the careers of musicians such as Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen and Sandi Thom. However, critics have derided the campaign as being a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Mark Borkowski, a PR and marketing expert, said: “The people who use MySpace are not going to fall for this. Things like this work when they are subtle and underplayed. This is completely over the top.”
Blair Gibbs, spokesman for the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “It is depressing to think that people in authority sat down and thought this was a good use of taxpayers’ money.”
Sue Kelly, of the Better Backs campaign, said it had decided to use a rock group to avoid focusing on people in specific jobs as 80 per cent of people will suffer back pain. “We tried out quite a few different things on focus groups and found that people enjoyed the humour of the rock group. It is not a subject normally associated with health and safety,” she said.