Adverts for Madeline to cost £80,000

Although their appearance in the public eye has caused mixed reactions, there is little doubt as to the volume of the publicity campaign mounted by the family of Madeline McCann.

Yesterday, the parents of the missing four-year-old, who disappeared 136 days ago from a Portuguese beach resort, reportedly gave the go-ahead for more adverts to begin.

Their new campaign will cover billboards, TV and newspapers, with adverts on each medium designed to ‘remind people that Madeline is still missing.’

It will be worth £80,000 and act as a global reminder that despite legal uncertainties in the case, a young British girl remains missing and, according to French media, is feared dead.

And while the ad agencies behind the campaign have asked to remain anonymous, the new drive to find the child yesterday won a highly visible and highly influential supporter.

Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin tycoon, will give £100,000 to create a fighting fund to help Kate & Gerry McCann clear their names as suspects in the case, which is being considered by a judge.

Disclosures obtained by The Daily Telegraph reveal the entrepreneur has also been in touch with “several wealthy figures” to encourage them to contribute to the McCanns’ legal fund.

“He is a father and there is a missing child out there in all of this,” a spokesperson for Branson told the paper.

“At the end of the day, a little four-year-old is still missing. If Richard can help a little bit to take the burden off the family and extended family by helping in this small way then that is all to the good.”

Last night the findmadeline blog, authored by Gerry McCann, did not mention the monetary support from Sir Richard, but it did allude to the new advertising blitz.

The most recent update on the site states: “The advice of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is that high visibility of a missing child through posters, car stickers etc increases the chances of finding that child.”

It is understood a new poster depicting a new image of Madeline is on the way to the printers, further to a new range of T-Shirts and press adverts.

Friends of the McCanns told the Mail on Sunday that the couple believe that, despite their precarious legal situation, the most important thing is to get the focus back on Madeline.

On his blog, Gerry McCann said: “Our greatest fear has always been that Madeleine would somehow be forgotten about and that our efforts to bring her back safely would run out of support.

“We know in our hearts that Madeleine is still out there, alive, confused and aching to be returned to her family where she belongs.”


17th September 2007

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