It’s hot and there’s a carrot crisis

Roads are melting and the UK has been officially experiencing a heatwave for more than a month with the current spell of hot weather lasting since at least June 23rd – and no end in sight.

Nurses are stuffing rubber gloves with ice cubes and putting them inside their bras to keep cool as revealed by Twitter user emmageddon‏ responding to a BBC Your Say feature about the issues faced by those who have to wear uniforms for work as temperatures soar.

Even worse there’s a looming carrot crisis driven by a combination of the Beast from the East storms earlier in the year which meant carrots were planted later than usual and the heatwave which is stopping them growing. This year’s UK carrot crop could be 40% lower which will mean increased imports or fewer carrots for Christmas lunch.

Add in sightings of sharks off the coast of Cornwall and Wales and all the classic ingredients of a British media silly season are being assembled now that Parliament has gone into recess reducing (possibly) the daily newsflow of Brexit forecasting, rows, resignations, warnings and speculation.

There’s a temptation and tendency to write off the summer months for communications on the basis that everyone is on holiday (presumably hoping to catch some rain) and it’s hot and the media is focused on silly stuff which makes it difficult to generate serious coverage of serious issues.

It is definitely not the time to launch major campaigns or to run events which need media to attend to be a success. It really is holiday season – ONS data shows UK residents made 46.6 million visits abroad for holidays last year and the summer is peak period.

Quite apart from potential media consumers being away key people within organisations will be also be out the office on holidays which makes waiting until September for major campaigns simply more practical.

But it shouldn’t mean just shutting up shop and deciding to not do anything until after the August Bank Holiday. The whole country does not shut down as everyone decamps to their country villa and life continues as normal so communications should adopt the same approach.

For some industry sectors the summer will be the busiest time so it is not even an option – travel firms and insurers for instance need to be consistently engaging with the media providing advice and support.

Consistency and regular communication are crucial to maintaining media relations – online and print media are still operational and need content. Again dependent on the industry there are opportunities for securing coverage. Tesco for instance has launched Pimm’s ice lollies as apparently there’s a trend for alcoholic lollies in the heatwave.

And even holidaymakers will be on their smartphones looking for UK news while monitoring the heatwave and praying for some foreign rain. The silly season is real but is to some extent outdated nowadays.

There will also be real news during the summer – if you like that sort of thing. The Bank of England could raise interest rates in August, there are GCSE and A-level results in England and Wales and football is coming home with the new Football League season starting on August 4th and the Premier League on August 11th.

Looming above all of that is of course the hot question of when will the heatwave end? But more, much more than that – where have all the carrots gone?

Written by Kevan Reilly, Director

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