Manchester's reputation may have taken a bruising following the disorder this week, but the agency charged with the promoting the city on a national and international stage is stepping up its efforts to restore its image.
Marketing Manchester will today launch a new campaign calling on businesses to back a 'We Love MCR day' on 26 August to show their support for the city. The agency plans to use social media as part of the drive, and will next week open a stall in the Arndale Centre selling 'I Love MCR' branded t-shirts and other merchandise.
Rachel Combie, the agency's director of strategic marketing, told Insider that it was too early to tell what damage the riots have had on the reputation Manchester and the UK internationally, but said the city now needs to build on the strong showing of community spirit that has been demonstrated since.
"We'll be engaging with businesses and residents and asking them to support a campaign that really will show this country – and the world – that Manchester isn’t going to take this lying down," she said.
"One of the iconic images of the clean-up day was the number of people wearing the 'I Love MCR' t-shirts and having similar slogans painted on their faces. It's that message of defiance that we want to get across to the wider community.
"We want people to show they are proud of their city and are united against the minority who caused the trouble."
Marketing Manchester has set up a Facebook group called 'We Love MCR' where people can suggest ways to show their love for the city. The agency is hoping to get as many people as possible to 'Like' the group and spread the message worldwide.
Computer screensavers and Twibbons – used to promote specific causes or events on Twitter – will also be employed as part of the social media campaign.
Combie added that Marketing Manchester is working in partnership with the Arndale Centre to set up a stall in the shopping mall from next week. It will sell 'I Love MCR' branded products, which are currently available in the Manchester Visitor Information Centre on Portland Street and online.
She said the culmination of the events will be a 'We Love MCR day' in two weeks' time. Businesses will be asked to let staff wear 'I Love MCR' t-shirts to work to show their support.
"The trouble isn’t what this city is about and isn’t what we want to be known for," added Combie. "We hope as many people as possible will join with us and show their love for Manchester."