In most cases, when you are staging an event to increase your charity PR, the cops showing up is a bad thing … even if you do end up on TV. But under certain circumstances, even an arrival by the police becomes Good Publicity. A recent story reported first by The Guardian illustrates the latter.
When the cops came down hard on a Village Green in the tiny little hamlet of Bourton in Cotswolds, residents were initially freaked out. Even more upset were the ersatz founders of the feast, Blood Bikes, a British nonprofit that had organized a charity fundraiser involving a rubber duck race.
The group organizes deliveries of blood and medical supplies to hospitals and wanted to get more eyes on their cause and hearts dedicated to it, so they worked out this whimsical little rubber foul race to get attention … and boy did they ever, get attention that is. Some residents upset about the noise in the typically tranquil village called the cops. When the Bobbies showed up, everyone was properly poleaxed.
Jonathan Dixon told the Guardian: “It was bonkers. Everyone was having a great time, and the kids were chasing after the ducks as they went down the river … suddenly a police car came along, and two officers went over and talked to the chaps running the event…”
After that “conversation,” the event was quickly and unceremoniously abandoned. It may seem like all was bad news for Blood Bikes, but, really, you can’t get the image of cops hassling little kids with ducks out of your mind, can you? Nor could the Brit media. In short order, a flock of media rushed to cover the (non-)event, including the Telegraph, Daily Mail, Express, a host of local stations and even HuffPo.
Daily Mail called the story “absolutely quackers” and claimed it was something right out of the movie “Hot Fuzz” … such other clever puns and associations continued as the story made the rounds. Suddenly, thanks to some cranky neighbors and an irresistible headline, Blood Bikes was an international sensation.
Then the other shoe dropped. The cops explained to the press the villager’s complaint. Apparently, there were motorcycles – remember, this is Blood Bikes – parked on or near the green. The sight of all that leather and chrome was enough to send some villagers into a tizzy, so they called the authorities pronto.
The cops asked the bikers to move their bikes, which they did. That didn’t appear to be enough for the testy villagers, who just Wanted Them Gone. Unfortunately for all the people who might need the plasma this group provides, Gladys Kravitz got her wish.