Gerry McCann attends Edinburgh Media Conference and is interviewed by BBC - 25 August 2007.
Gerry McCann, June 3, 2007:
“We want a big event to raise awareness that she is still missing
(...) It wouldn’t be a one-year anniversary, it will be sooner than that.”
Gerry McCann, speaking on June 3rd, 2007: "Later this year (...)"
LET'S HOLD A MADELEINE DAY FOR THE WHOLE WORLD
Sunday June 3,2007
By Jason Groves
ROCK legend Sir Elton John is being lined up to front a global pop concert, to carry the message of missing Madeleine McCann’s plight to every corner of the earth.
It is hoped the singer will headline a huge series of worldwide events to mark a special Madeleine Day that her distraught parents are planning in the effort to find the vanished four-year-old. Sir Elton’s popular appeal is guaranteed to attract a swarm of other film and music superstars keen to offer support to parents Gerry and Kate McCann.
The couple, having promised not to return home until they are reunited with Madeleine, are now planning a series of visits to European and North African cities, to distribute posters and widen the appeal for information.
Sir Elton has played an emotional DVD of Madeline at his concerts, but now believes a larger effort would do more to raise awareness of her predicament.
Gerry McCann, 38, said: “One of the ideas is maybe getting all the people who have publicly supported us to come together. I don’t just mean from the UK but from different parts of the world. We want a big event to raise awareness that she is still missing.
“We would look at high-profile people who have already pledged support. It will be some sort of focus around an anniversary, to tell people thatMadeleine ’s still missing. I think it would be later this year, once media attention has dropped, to bring it back up, hopefully, for a short period.
“It wouldn’t be a one-year anniversary, it will be sooner than that. What we’re doing at the minute has its role but doing that down the line in a few months won’t have anything like the same impact. We might have a sporting event, something arts, something music.
"We’ve had backing from sporting people up to now. We have had backing from certain musical celebrities as well. We’ve got some other musical contacts that we are exploring, who are happy to offer support.
“We’re not saying it would necessarily be one big concert, it might be that on a certain day they are playing her DVD.
“What we want at the current time is maximum message out there now, about her disappearance but then just events to bring it back up occasionally just to remind people, if she’s not found.”
A month after the sleeping Madeleine was snatched from her bed, Gerry and Kate McCann have betrayed the first signs that their hopes of finding her alive are starting to fade.
The couple confessed that they are haunted by the harrowing thought of her being held captive by a pervert. Still desperately clinging toMadeleine ’s pink Cuddle Cat, 38-year-old Kate said: “We don’t know where she is. We’d like to think she’s still in Portugal, she might still be in Portugal.
“But we know there’s a possibility she’s gone over the border – or several borders. We know there are bad people out there, but we know there are also a lot of sad people. We hope it’s the latter.”
Gerry added: “Of course we believe Madeleine is still alive but you would be incredible if you hadn’t considered the worst scenario, that she’s dead.
“Kate and I discuss it – not a lot, but we talk about hope, and that while there’s some we will not give up. At the minute, there’s loads of hope.”
PS - Don't look for this story, on the Daily Express site. It was deleted, long ago...
From The Times
September 8, 2007
How couple helped to build ‘brand McCann’ into global phenomenon
Skilful media handlers recruited celebrities and world leaders to a campaign driven by parents’ acceptance of the press as partners
Dominic Kennedy and David Brown
The naming of Kate McCann as a suspect in the disappearance of her daughter is all the more shocking since she has become a symbol of mothers of missing children everywhere.
World leaders and celebrities, from the Vatican, the White House and Downing Street downwards have all been recruited to the “find Madeleine” campaign.
The global missing-persons movement has adopted as its most powerful emblem the mystery of the pretty blonde child who disappeared into the night.
As the McCanns have toured Europe and beyond, relentlessly urging the public to find their little girl, families’ fears that their own children may be abducted have worsened.
Nobody could guess, when the news broke on May 3 that a British child had gone missing, that the riddle would eclipse any crime story of the internet age. What became “brand Madeleine” arose from a combination of brilliant media-handling skills and, for the first time, interactive websites telling editors how much the public craved such a story.
If the Portuguese police were sluggish about starting to search for the missing girl, nobody could accuse British spin-doctors and reporters of being slow off the mark in their hunt for headlines.
The McCanns dominated the news quickly. As doctors and young parents living a quiet provincial life, they had no experience of dealing with the media.
Fortunately, the Mark Warner organisation that runs the holiday camp where Madeleine disappeared was represented by one of the best PRs in the business.
Alex Woolfall is crisis management head at Bell Pottinger, the public relations outfit headed by the original sultan of spin, Lord Bell. Mr Woolfall’s main clients have included that other global brand Coca-Cola.
For the first fortnight after Madeleine disappeared, he was on the spot in Praia da Luz, acting as gobetween for the family and the growing pack of journalists.
“We were aware from the outset that there was a huge amount of media interest and they were very keen to see the media as a partner,” he said in an interview.
“They find themselves having to ask themselves ‘What can we possibly do that means we will be able to sleep tonight, knowing that we have done everything today that we could have done?’.”
In an unprecedented move, the Government took over news-handling on behalf of the McCanns. Sheree Dodd, a former Daily Mirror journalist and long-serving senior spokeswoman for the Government, was dispatched to Portugal. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced that she was being deployed as “press officer responsible to act as media liaison officer for the McCann family”.
After a couple of weeks, she was replaced by an even more prominent political figure. Clarence Mitchell, a former BBC News presenter now working as a senior government spin-doctor, became the voice of the McCanns. He was described formally as providing “consular support in exceptional circumstances”. His costs came to just over £6,000, and Ms Dodd’s are likely to be similar.
A Foreign Office source said: “This has been a completely new situation. We had to do something.”
Mr Mitchell was regarded by journalists as an impressive and helpful figure who was sensitive to the needs of the locals as well as the British.
At first, reports suggested that the McCanns would be reluctant to leave Portugal without getting Madeleine back. But they were persuaded to undertake a foreign tour featuring an audience with the Pope, Mr Mitchell sitting close by.
A clever brand image was created. Madeleine has an unusual iris in her right eye that would make her unmistakable even if she were disguised.
Wristbands were issued with the words “Look for Madeleine”. The letters “oo” were designed to resemble the distinctive shape of the girl’s eyes.
Madeleine’s case was seized upon by organisations promoting the search for missing people.But adverse reaction began when a cinema advertisement was screened before the latest Shrek film. Parents complained that their children were being frightened.
To date, the Find Madeleine campaign, which has a much-visited website that seemed to be struggling under the weight of demand yesterday, has raised more than £1 million. Mr McCann posts a regular blog. Its last entry, from Wednesday, is quite ominous and suggests that the media may have been tipped off about looming developments.
“We were surprised to find increased media presence in Praia da Luz again today,” he wrote. “All the excitement seems to be over the results of the recent forensic tests.”
Justine McGuinness, a public relations expert, has been recruited, with the help of a headhunter, to become the McCanns’ private spokeswoman in Praia da Luz.
The media feeding frenzy is driven in part by the popularity of Madeleine McCann stories on news websites. For many of the past 128 days, her name has been the most-searched item.
It’s not surprising, then, that the Daily Express has put Madeleine’s picture on its front page almost every day. Its previous favourite cover girl was that other British blonde who came to grief mysteriously in foreign parts: Diana, Princess of Wales.