Age UK: A Lesson in Media Hijacking

As a general rule, government announcements never fail to deliver a perfect opportunity for media-hijacking. The 2012 budget is no exception. Age UK, the charity that provide information and advice for the elderly, are a perfect example of an organisation using the budget to fuel publicity nationwide.

The surprise announcement of the government’s new ‘Granny Tax’, which will leave pensioners up to £323 worse off, has doubtlessly been detrimental to the reputation of the coalition; opinion polls have reported a two point drop for the Conservatives, with 63 per cent of voters disagreeing with the tax initiative. Elsewhere, however, the reputation of Age UK is thriving.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director-General of Age UK, commented, ‘Someone with an income as low as £10,500 who reaches 65 from April 2013 could be £259 a year worse off than under the current system with very little time to adjust their financial retirement plans.’

And those comments are everywhere. Within hours of the budget being announced, Mitchell’s comments were reported in a number of national news outlets including The Guardian, The Observer and The Telegraph. Moreover, a quick Google News search for ‘Michelle Mitchell Granny Tax’ returns 5,152 news articles.

Responses to the budget from Age UK were also littered across a number of other local news sites, in association with the charities local branches; a great way to raise awareness of the services that the charity provide locally.

The quick thinking of the Age UK PR team has ensured widespread national coverage and means that Age UK are now firmly on the radar of every granny in the country. What a wonderful lesson in media hijacking for us all.