In the early evening of Thursday 8th September 2022, Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II passed away that afternoon. What followed was a global reaction from powerful leaders and companies all over the world. But first, it’s important to understand why the death of the Queen yielded such a powerful response from the global community.
Queen Elizabeth II was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. She led the country for over 70 years alongside 15 prime ministers and through many turbulent times. From the first moonwalk to Britain leaving the European Union, the Queen reigned over Britain through many groundbreaking events. It’s difficult to sum up her life succinctly, but in addition to carrying the United Kingdom through its twists and turns of the last 70 years, she was also a mother of four with eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.
The Marketing Industry’s Response Over The First 24 Hours
It was announced in the early afternoon of 8th September that the Queen was being observed by medical professionals due to concerns for her health. After this statement from Buckingham Palace, the BBC cancelled all regular programmes for extended news coverage. Once her death was announced, ITV and Channel 4 temporarily suspended advertising out of respect for the Royal Family. Social Media advertising
was also limited on some platforms, with Twitter turning off all advertising for 48 hours. Snapchat also limited its advertising for 24 hours following the announcement.
Aside from ads being limited, there was also an outpour of heartfelt responses from some of the most influential organisations in marketing and advertising. To name a few, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, WPP and Dentsu all issued statements extending their thoughts to the Royal Family. A range of London marketing agencies
also showed their support with heartfelt messages.
Individual Companies & Brands Responses
There have also been responses from multi-media organisations such as JCDecaux and Clear Channel UK. They both suspended advertising on all digital screens and replaced them with tributes to Queen Elizabeth. In addition to this, Ocean Outdoor showed a tribute to the Queen on the iconic Piccadilly Lights, which are normally home to some of the biggest advertising campaigns. Media giants such as Bauer Media, the owner of KISS FM and Magic radio stations, also pulled all advertising and sponsorships as a sign of respect.
Brands were urged to think carefully when reacting to the news of the Queen’s passing as it’s important they don’t seem as though they’re capitalising off a monarch’s death. There has already been backlash on a number of social media posts for being insensitive, including Dale Vince’s response. The founder of the electricity company Ecotricity posted a mocked-up image of the Queen wearing a green club t-shirt with the Ecotricity logo, captioned “Thanks Liz”. This prompted hundreds of angry comments calling the founder distasteful.
This being said, there has been a large amount of respectful brand responses. For example, the company Moonpig rescheduled its upcoming campaign that was due to launch on 10th September. Lexus also followed suit and delayed their most recent campaign.
How Have The Brands Holding Royal Warrants Responded?
Many famous brands have the coveted status of holding a Royal Warrant. This means that Queen Elizabeth has given permission for a company to advertise that they supply the Royal household. John Lewis released a new marketing campaign earlier on in the week of the Queen’s passing, however, they have since paused all advertising “where possible”. Fortnum & Mason have held a Royal Warrant since 1954, they lowered their flag to half-mast along with stopping their clock and covering all windows on their famous facade. Selfridges showed their respect by closing their stores on Thursday and remained closed until the weekend. Whilst London Fashion Week will still be going ahead, Burberry, who also held a Royal Warrant, cancelled their SS23 fashion show.
How Has The Good Marketer Paid Tribute?
On the day the Queen’s death was announced, we had the news on in the office as we anxiously awaited any news. Once we were informed of Her Majesty’s death, we issued a post on our social media
showing our respects to the late Queen and the Royal Family. We also had content on our TikTok correcting other videos that were spreading misinformation so our followers were informed. Aside from our own content, we liaised with our clients about how they would like us to respond to this global news, making sure all advertising remained respectful.
Overall, there has been a powerful reaction from the marketing and advertising industry paying their respects to Queen Elizabeth II. The monarch had an unimaginable impact on Britain and for most people will be the only Queen they will know in their lifetime. The response is expected to continue at least until the state funeral on Monday.
At The Good Marketer
, we acknowledge this is a big moment in history, perhaps even a once in a lifetime event. We send our deepest condolences to the Royal Family. Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth II.