Should your brand embrace the Jubilee?
This week sees the UK celebrate 70 years of HRH Queen Elizabeth II being on the throne. But, apart from an extended bank holiday, what does the Platinum Jubilee mean to consumers and can - and should - brands use the event to their advantage?
The UK is preparing itself for a long weekend of street parties, flag-waving and royal reminiscing... or is it?
Are people as hyped for the Platinum Jubilee as some elements of the press would have us believe? If they are, should brands be involved in the festivities and, if so, how? We asked a selection of the UK ad industry whether the upcoming event represented an opportunity for brands to engage a jubilant public. Some think so, others feel that Jubilee advertising feels like 'brazen opportunism'.
Matt Waksman, Brand Strategy Partner, Ogilvy UK
"When we look at Google search terms related to the Jubilee, breakout topics include Jubilee puddings, Jubilee trifle recipes, Jubilee concerts and Jubilee bunting. So, no, it doesn’t look like the big passions of younger generations are intersecting strongly with the Jubilee. To create an effective campaign around similar celebrations, most brands try to find a nice, appropriate link to a topical moment. But the brands that breakthrough tend to be the ones that subvert the moment. This works especially well in the UK where we’re drawn to mischief-makers.
One of the most important roles for a brand to play is to be the entertainer.
The context of the last few years as a whole has been frightening. One of the most important roles for a brand to play is to be the entertainer (see Why Does The Pedlar Sing by Paul Feldwick). The Platinum Jubilee is an opportunity for brands to sing a happy song – they should step up to the mic."
Above: The Jubilee pudding, created by Jemma Melvin to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
Benedict Pringle, Partner at The&Partnership London
"Marketing around royal events can be effective provided the brand has an authentic and relevant role to play. With over 200 years of history covering royal events, the role played by The Times and The Sunday Times is certainly authentic.
Stories involving Her Majesty regularly get high levels of engagement.
And stories involving Her Majesty regularly get high levels of engagement from both existing and prospective digital subscribers, which indicates that it is relevant to our audience. As that’s the case, the Platinum Jubilee represents a good opportunity for The Times and The Sunday Times to encourage digital subscriptions and print sales."
Above: The&Partnership created Jubilee images for The Times and The Sunday Times.
Richard Exon, Founder, Joint London
"Recent YouGov data evidences a pretty sharp contrast between generations when it comes to support for the monarchy. Whilst 81% of Baby Boomers support the status quo, only 53% of Millenials do. Meanwhile 41% of the restless Gen Z cohort actively want a republic and support for the monarchy drops to 31%. But when asked about Queen Elizabeth II herself, the picture is much more consistent and broadly positive, with 75% of the total population saying they like her.
Don’t overestimate the importance of the occasion for most of your audience.
Interestingly, though only up 15% of any age group are actively planning to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, and this figure is nearly identical across generations. Which points to two key considerations for any brand planning any tactical and topical marketing during the celebrations. First, don’t overestimate the importance of the occasion for most of your audience. Even if your audience is entirely made up of Brexit-voting, Tory Party-supporting, over 65-years-olds only 15% of them are really focused on the Jubilee itself. For most people it’s a welcome long weekend in a pretty tough year. No more, no less.
Second, don’t underestimate the near universal approval - even amongst the young - of HRH herself. So, keep it respectful and think twice about making any unmerited connection with her, no matter how tempting that may be."
Above, [clockwise, from top left]: Richard Exon, Lorna Burt, Matt Waksman and Kim Walker.
Lorna Burt,Orange Panther Collective
"Call me a cynic (hell, call me a republican if you like) but brands piggybacking the Jubilee feels like brazen opportunism - big business wringing the last few pounds out of the British public before the cost of living crisis really hits - distracting them with bunting and BBQs, puns and stunts. Transparent at best, self-serving at worst.
Brands piggybacking the Jubilee feels like brazen opportunism.
It feels like a distant cousin of the rainbow-hued logo or Instagram black square we’ve seen so many times. Brands showing they 'get' us and our communities without actually doing anything for either. And that's the crux of it - because, of course, brands can get involved in the communities, causes and celebrations that matter to their customers. But it requires a lot more doing, and a lot less saying.
Throw street parties for communities that don't have the funds to do it themselves. Find ways for other 90-years-olds to feel as valued and celebrated as HRH. Support women in your own organisation to become leaders. After all, isn't that what this really is; a celebration of the career of the most famous female CEO in the country?"
Above: If they want to get involved in the Jubilee, brands should throw street parties for communities that don't have the funds to do it themselves.
Kim Walker, Strategy Partner, Harbour Collective London
"The Queen is the singularly most admired person in the UK. Over 10 million Brits are expected to join the ‘Plats Jewb’ celebrations this weekend. And all of us – 67 million of us - get an extra two days off work. NOT getting involved would be a huge missed opportunity for any brand operating in the UK this summer. So, let’s take brand involvement in the Jubilee cultural conversation as a given. Now, how to make that involvement engaging and effective. Here is the problem, the tricky bit...
If you could have done it at the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, don’t bother. You’ll be missing the cultural nuance of the day.
Standing out in the sea of same will be tough. There will be a lot competing for people’s attention this weekend. Approaching the Jubilee with the same old, tired toolkit of iconic imagery, colourful bunting and a nostalgic look backwards may alienate huge swathes of people without saying anything distinct or interesting about your brand. If you could have done it at the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, don’t bother. You’ll be missing the cultural nuance of the day. This moment of connection will be hugely important for so many in a post-Covid world.
And, if you could replace your brand with any other, in your category or beyond, again, don’t bother. The world doesn’t need more noise from brands when we could be listening to the Trooping of the Colour."
Above: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's tour of the Caribbean was not seen as being successful by some.
Charlie Cottrell, Executive Editorial Director, We Are Social
"Jumping on pageantry has typically been a safe bet for marketers wanting to ride a wave of cheerful public spirit. In the days of the royal weddings, the biggest risk facing brands was of coming across as a bit naff. But times have changed and so have the conversations around the royal family and its subjects. Kate and Wills’ unsuccessful Jubilee tour in the Caribbean marked a shift in conversation, from the usual tropes of smiling children and Kate’s lovely hair to the far more difficult to PR question of apologies and reparations to the former colonies.
Linking your marketing activity to the royals, opens your brand up to potential conversations around colonialism, racism, sexual misconduct, and the wealth-gap.
Now, linking your marketing activity to the royals, opens your brand up to potential conversations around colonialism, racism, sexual misconduct, and the wealth-gap. The past fortnight has seen a swell in the hashtag #PlatinumJubilee being accompanied by the hashtag #AbolishTheMonarchy. People are questioning the moral rightness of celebrating 70 years of extreme and chronic privilege at a time when the cost of living crisis is driving people into poverty. As marketers, it’s important to consider your target audience. If you want to appeal to a younger consumer, these might not be the right moments to jump on. Bloomberg reported nearly half of 16-34 year olds polled thought the royals are ‘a luxury we can’t afford’.
Ultimately, you can tap into the spirit of the Jubilee without poking the royalist bear. The extra bank holiday and the chance to get together with loved ones are things to be celebrated. Humour and playfulness are also welcome, in what is for many, a fairly bleak time. Brands that consider their audiences, fold them into the campaign and find ways to lighten their mood will succeed in getting the right kind of engagement, this Jubilee year."
Above: Pimms has seen a 260% increase in year-on-year sales at Waitrose.
Matt Martindale, Head of Marketing, SoPost
“The Queen's Platinum Jubilee gives us cause for celebration; streets are adorned with Union Jacks and Pimms is flying off the shelves ready for a weekend full of street parties. It seems that everywhere you look, in real life and on the internet, businesses are finding a link to the royal celebration. Why? Because consumers are on board; Pimms has seen a 260% increase in year-on-year sales at Waitrose, and B&Q has sold 100k metres of bunting.
Brands that have well-planned, well-executed, strategic campaigns will see the return.
The question brands should be asking themselves is: does my audience believe there is a relevant link to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee? If the answer is 'yes', then marketing around a once-in-a-lifetime event is absolutely worth the time and investment. Brands that have well-planned, well-executed, strategic campaigns will see the return. But, if the answer is ‘no’, then it begs the next question: why bother? Consumers see more than 4,000 ads per day so marketing has to be strong. If the Jubilee link is too tenuous, the audience will quickly see through it.”
Above: Truant's homemade Jammy Andrew's Extra Seedy Conserve.
David Gamble, ECD, Truant London
“The royals haven't had the best time in recent years, with Prince Andrew's out of court settlement taking national sentiment to a new low. An Ipsos Mori poll published in March suggests support for the royals – and, in particular, the Queen – is still high at a national level, but younger audiences are increasingly questioning their relevance [over 50% believe we won’t have a monarchy in 50 years]. This leads brands to a couple of approaches when it comes to the Jubilee. Go out and show the nation you're 100% behind the Queen and ride with the majority, or use the Jubilee as an opportunity to show younger audiences that you're in touch with them by subverting the narrative in a light-hearted way.
I can already picture branded social posts doing the rounds. Weetabix with a large dollop of clotted cream and strawberry jam on top. A silk-gloved hand creeps in to grab it.
I can already picture branded social posts doing the rounds. Weetabix with a large dollop of clotted cream and strawberry jam on top. A silk-gloved hand creeps in to grab it. Greggs launching a 70cm sausage roll to mark 70 years of reign #sausageLOLS. Burger King sending the Queen something saucy. I'm not sure where Ryanair stand on the royal family but they may offer the Queen a free carry-on case to mark the occasion. Starbucks gives a free coffee to anyone called Lizzy. KFC go large with a Coronation Chicken Family Bucket. Then Andrex rolls out the Royal Range to celebrate 70 years on the throne.
At Truant, we decided to celebrate the Jubilee with our very own, homemade Jammy Andrew's Extra Seedy Conserve. I doubt we'll be receiving an invitation to the palace anytime soon. How brands approach the Jubilee depends entirely on who they want to mirror: ride the wave with the traditionalists or poke fun at the status quo? Either way, we can all celebrate a lovely long weekend and think about the prospect of being in the same job for 70 years.”
Above: However your brand decides to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, it needs to be relevant to your audience.
Holly Morris, Social Creative Strategist, The Wild
"To put it simply, it is not the event itself that makes a consumer care, it’s how that event plays into your brand and consumer’s worlds. Marketing around any event requires one key thing, and that’s relevance. Brand relevance is key in both having authority to get involved in a moment, and being remembered for said involvement. Cultural relevance is key in making your audience feel you are talking to them, as them.
It’s important to recognise the political baggage that comes with mention of the monarchy.
How is the Jubilee seen through the lens of your audience? How does it make them feel? What impact does the moment really have on their personal life? Additionally, with moments around the royals/Jubilee, it’s important to recognise the political baggage that comes with mention of the monarchy. With socials as they are, everyone now has their own personal brand, and they see the brands they endorse as a reflection of who they are, too. It’s important to check whether the Jubilee aligns with your audience’s stance on the monarchy.
Additionally, with moments like the Jubilee it’s important to not always take the most literal marketing routes. Looking at the moment from the lens of your audience could spark various different routes for effective marketing. For the Jubilee, it’s likely a large proportion of your audience are more excited by the prospect of taking time off work and seeing family/friends rather being part of the Queen’s celebration. Recognising the emotional pull of your audience to the event is key in achieving consumer engagement."