Scottish Clothing Manufacturer Changes Branding Over Lockerbie Bomber Incident

Harris Tweed manufacturers are not going to promote themselves as a Scottish company as they would previously have done.

A manufacturer of Harris Tweed has dropped the word "Scottish" from its U.S. marketing campaign amid fears of a consumer backlash over the release of the Lockerbie bomber, a report said Sept. 14.

Harris Tweed Hebrides said it had rethought its campaign ahead of the launch of its fashion collection in New York next month after the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi by the Scottish government, which sparked fury in the US.

"We are not going to promote ourselves as a Scottish company as we would previously have done," said Mark Hogarth, the company's creative director. "From everyone we spoke to in the U.S., the feeling came back that a serious mistake had been made in releasing Megrahi."

"We have been getting a lot of feedback and we have had to de-Scottishify the image of the brand. If he had not been released we would not have altered anything," he said.

Harris Tweed is specially handwoven wool by communities on islands off Scotland, a proud industry that dates back to the 1800s. Harris Tweed Hebrides supplies the fabric to more than 30 countries.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper said other manufacturers have also expressed concern about a possible boycott of Scottish goods, including Walkers Shortbread.

Megrahi, the only man convicted over the 1988 plane bombing, was released from prison in August on compassionate grounds because he is suffering terminal cancer. The Scottish government's decision and the hero's welcome Megrahi received when he returned to Libya sparked anger from the U.S. administration and the American relatives of victims of the atrocity.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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