The fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Some bright spark at the National Lottery came up with a fantastic PR stunt this week to return Guy Fawkes lantern to the Houses of Parliament for the first time in over 400 years.
The Lottery supports a range of art, sport and community organisations and charities. This event is to mark the 500,000th National Lottery grant for UK good causes.
The lantern apparently is the one Guy was holding in 1605 when he was caught beneath the House of Lords trying to blow up Parliament. It has been safely kept in Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum for years and now is making a return to the scene of the crime!
Every year we celebrate a little part of our history with a traditional burning of a Guy or with fireworks. Great Britain is rich in history, and this is a fantastic reminder of why we celebrate the 5th of November. By supporting something of cultural significance the Lottery is very publicly making a connection between that and their funding for good causes.
Although this is clearly a PR stunt to generate awareness of the Lottery, I can’t help but appreciate the thought that has gone in to it. It’s a great topical idea that has wide-ranging appeal, fantastic photo opportunities, and lots of social media potential in history fans and current MP’s. Plus, and this is a big win in the PR world, it doesn’t cost the earth. The lantern’s on loan from the museum. It’s a good all rounder PR-wise, but it also has another aspect which gives it an edge – it’s historic, an actual first, which gives it a really great wholesome feel and makes it both news-worthy and memorable.
Have a great Guy Fawkes night, and stay safe if you are having a bonfire or doing your own fireworks! Follow the expert safety tips from Hampshire Fire and Rescue or, even better, attend an organised display.