Brands celebrate the birth of the Royal baby

Google, Coca-Cola and Tesco are among a raft of high-profile brands flocking to tap into the excitement around the birth of the new Prince with tactical campaigns, but marketing experts warn the rush to welcome the new arrival from brands “so far removed from a royal celebration” risks denting credibility.

CokeRoyalBaby-Campaign-2013_460
Coke is among the first to congratulate the Royal couple on the birth of their son.

The firstborn of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was born yesterday (22 July) in London and is expected to help inject £240m into the stop-start UK economy, according to figures for the Centre of Retail Research.

The anticipation around the event reached fever pitch yesterday morning after Kate Middleton went into labour and brands around the world raced to be among the first to welcome the prince. 

Coca-Cola congratulated the Royal couple with a press ad that read “Time for a Royal Celebration” and a picture of two bottles labelled Will and Kate. The move is part of the brand’s “Share a Coke” nationwide push that sees it replace its branding on bottles with more than 150 of the UK’s most popular names.

Meanwhile, Google has launched an online greeting card where well wishers all over the world can send the Royal couple a message. A physical version of the card will be delivered to Kensington Palace.

TescoRoyalBaby-Campaign-2013

Tesco is running press ads to promote Moet & Chandon champagne as the drink to celebrate the occasion. The ad reads: “It’s a Prince!”, before going on to ask readers to “Raise a glass to the Royal Arrival. Other brands to mark the occasion include Warburtons, Visit Britian and Argos (see box).

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive, IGD, says the birth is an “oasis moment” that could boosts shoppers’ sentiment and encourage them to buy products to toast his arrival.

Others, however, warn the raft of Royal baby activity from brands that have no real connection to the royal celebration could damage their credibility in the long-run.  

Don Williams, chief creative officer at branding consultancy PI Global, says:  “A marketers job is to sell brands and sometime a tactical opportunity presents them with a short window that is too good to miss. If a brand tries to somehow link itself in a less tongue in cheek way to the event, or its brand personality is so far removed from a royal celebration then the credibility of that brand may suffer.

“The question really is ‘is this activity and the style of the message appropriate or relevant to the brand’? if it is, go for it, if it isn’t stay well clear.”

MagnumRoyalBaby-Campaign-2013

Dale Gill, chief executive at Profero, which has created a Royal baby campaign for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, adds: “Marketing around major events can appear gratuitous and is often anonymous; lost in the genuine media mayhem. Success is about the strength of idea, the fit between brand and event and the timing. Most brands will simply be wasting their money, or worse, by not lining all of these up.”

Brands and the Royal Baby:

  • Marks & Spencer –  has launched a Royal Etiquette Guide. It features a series of young babies decked out in royal garbs giving the new Prince advice on how to behave like a Royal.
  • BT – Celebrated the arrival by running a special message at the top of its telecoms tower in London.
  • Jelly Babies – the Haribo-owned sweet brand ran a press ad. It had been poised to launch a special limited edition range of “Royal Jelly Babies” just weeks prior the birth.
  • Warburtons – The baker ran an ad with a bun in an oven with the strapline “One bun is done”.
  • G.H Mumm – The Pernod Ricard champagne brand marked the arrival with a press ad and the message “Congratulations, from one Mumm to  another”.
  • Magnum – is running a a press ad and asking fans to tweet the #MiniRoyal hashtag.

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