Marketing that gets the royal seal of approval

The Coronation of King Charles III is a momentous occasion for the Royal Family and a cost of living, battle-weary Great Britain. We always love a bit of pomp and ceremony to lift our flailing GB spirits. Any excuse to wave the Union Jack, drink Pimms like pop and throw a quintessentially British street party on the bonus bank holiday with neighbours that we barely speak to 364 days a year. It’s also the perfect excuse for brands, businesses, marketeers and PRs to jump on the State Coronation Coach.

Campaigns fit for a King

The frenzy of marketing activity to celebrate (or capitalise on) King Charles’ Coronation has to be as well planned as the route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. From limited edition red, white and blue website takeovers and social media gimmicks to feel-good royal tag lines and community campaigns, PR stunts and newsjacking. From Tesco to Terry’s tea van, everyone wants a slice of the Coronation cake.

But the crowning glory surely goes to Visit Britain with ‘His MajesTEA’. The ‘Spilling the Tea on Great Britain’ campaign uses the stereotype of Britain’s love of tea by showing visitors that ‘whatever your cup of tea, we’ve got it’. PG Tips and Tetley will be spitting out their cup of char that they didn’t think of it sooner.

Major royal events have always been a gift for brands. The opportunities for puns and punches are endless – for getting it so right and so utterly wrong. M&S ‘rebranded’ as ‘Markle and Sparkle’ for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding and McDonald’s even changed their iconic tagline to ‘One’s Lovin It’ to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

But the ‘off with their heads’ PR disaster award goes to Center Parcs who took the unfathomable decision to kick everyone out for the day of the Queen’s funeral. Even the most hardcore anti-monarchist or republican cannot think that making guests with tantrumming toddlers and teenagers pack up and leave their holiday was a positive PR plot.

Standing out in the Coronation crowd

If you’re planning to ride on the coattails of the King’s coronation cloak, here are a few do’s and don’ts. According to the ASA, general references to a royal event or message of congratulations posted on your social media platforms are permissible. However, it is crucial that content does not imply that your service or a product has Royal Family endorsement, or that it is connected to a royal event in any way. So, no claiming that Charles and Camilla will be feasting on your small batch, London Dry Gin infused organic pheasant pate at their wedding breakfast. Especially as they’ll be devouring the good old British delicacy of fish, chips and mushy petit pois surely?

Journalists will be inundated with pitches ahead of the Coronation, so it’s important to find the elusive golden goose to grab media interest. Nostalgia, scandal and tears all sell stories. Did your business get up and running with the help of the Prince’s Trust? Has the King or Queen Consort ever visited your business premises? Are they a patron for a charity you also support? Do you offer products that have the official royal seal of approval? Have staff met members of the Royal Family and have a personal heart-warming story or funny anecdote to share? Any MBEs hanging out in your staffroom?

If not, go for a stalwart royal pun. Or be a complete Coronation ostrich. But avoid the scandal. They’ve had enough of that to deal with. And you want to keep your head, don’t you?

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