The tactics and methods used by a pressure group can also affect its successfulness, such as advertising. Groups that use advertising campaigns such as NSPCC and GOSH (Television advertisement campaigns) appeal to a wide audience and often make the group a household name. By generating the attention, they become more publicised and gain more members or in the case of the NSPCC, donations which helps generate their campaigns. Another method used by pressure groups is participating in publicity stunts. In 2008, Greenpeace campaigned against the 3rd runway at Heathrow Airport by breaking into the airport and protesting on top of one of the planes, this gained a lot of media coverage and attention from both the public and the government. The use of public demonstrations can also aid the success of a pressure group, which can be seen from the 2010 NUS (National Union of Students) demonstration against the rise in university fees in London, this was very publicised and the group drew a lot of attention, however it didn’t influence the government and the rise in fees still took place. Pressure groups also raise petitions which can lead to success, such as the National Trust’s petition against the government selling forestry lands which was a success as Cameron dropped the proposals soon after the petition was presented. Pressure groups that use tactics and methods widely are more likely to be successful rather that groups that ‘sit back’ and that are not involved in any public demonstrations or petitions such a Tentelini, a group that isn’t known to use any methods to gain attention or to influence the government.
The membership of a pressure group and the support, especially celebrity support, that it holds can also determine its success. If a pressure group has support from celebrities, it can become more well known and also the celebrity can endorse the pressure group and increase its chances of success, unlike groups which aren’t supported by any celebrity and which rely on other sources to increase the public awareness of the group. Many pressure groups are supported by celebrities such as Children in Need which is supported by Sir Terry Wogan, Amnesty International which is supported by Colin Firth and Beat Bulling which is supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The membership of a group can also lead to its success as with more members, it can have more of an impact and more of a say as it will represent or have the support of many/more people. If a group were to have low membership, such as the RATS group which only has 30 boat clubs which support it, its influence would be less successful as it would have less support when compared to a group such as CBI which is supported by 240,000 businesses.
The media can also contribute to the successes of a pressure group as a group with media support will gain positive coverage and possibly public support. Children in Need is an example, its latest telethon accumulated 12 million viewers, which undoubtedly contributed towards it success in raising £26 million. Pressure groups with a lot of newspaper coverage such as Occupy London and UK uncut could also be seen as being successful as they gain attention as a result of their actions and from that they gain support. Television shows such as Newsnight and Question Time also help promote pressure groups such as the appearance of Bob Crowe, a trade union leader, on Question Time in 2010.
The aims of a pressure group and also its leadership can ultimately lead to its success aswell. Groups such as Occupy London has many aims, however they are very extreme and unlikely to succeed, so the group itself is unlikely to succeed too. But groups such as Children in Need have very clear aims and they’re well set out, because of this they’re more likely to succeed and they do every year. The NUS currently doesn’t have a ‘clear’ leader, because of this, there are many divisions within the group and its success could falter. Another example is the recent Dale Farm protest which also had no clear leadership and which didn’t fulfil its aims as they didn’t stay on the proposed site, this is because their methods were wrong.
The finance of a pressure group can also contribute to its success. If a group has secure financial backing, it has more money to spend on resources and towards organising things such as public demonstrations and advertising, for example GOSH raises over £50 million a year and those funds raised go towards funding the hospital and to funding future events. But if a group doesn’t have secure financial aid then it can’t afford to run and will not be able to fulfil its aims, such as the Occupy London group.
Many pressure groups are successful because of a number of reasons, they may be a well publicised group with realistic aims and support from various high-profile celebrities. However other pressure groups may not be so successful as they may not have the support of the government or of the general public, like the more successful groups do. The success of a pressure group over another is due to many, and a combination of, reasons which includes having realistic aims, gaining the support of both the public and the government, being well organised and having a clear leader, having media support and holding good financial backing.
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
A good essay with some excellent use of examples in places. The answer does address the question although it is lacking in places in evaluation and analysis of the factors that lead to some pressure groups being more successful than others. ****