MARKETING’S MONARCHS: For Some Brands, Britain’s Royals Must Be a Royal Pain

As Queen Elizabeth recently remarked, 1992 was a wretched year for Britain’s monarchy, what with the royals’ various marital mishaps filling page after page of the tabloids. But Elizabeth and her kin aren’t the only royals around. Turn to a directory of advertisers and you’ll find a couple pages of companies with Royal as their first name – marketers of everything from vacuum cleaners to vodka to cruises to needlepoint paraphernalia. And a directory of brand names shows several that go by the Royal Family moniker – including a line of bed and bath products and a line of cabinet hardware. It can’t be welcome news for these advertisers when the peccadilloes of Britain’s royals expose the term ‘royal family’ to ridicule. Having adopted a name that draws its upscale aura from the reference to real-life royalty, such companies also are hostage to the behavior of those princes and princesses – not altogether a safe bargain these days. Perhaps Lloyd’s of London could sell them insurance that pays off when Britain’s royal conspicuously misbehave. At any rate, as talk of abolishing the monarchy spreads, these marketers may wish to prepare contingency plans for relaunching themselves under republican banners should worse come to worst.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)