Party Pieces, the company owned by Kate Middleton’s family, may have gone too far in apparently exploiting the royal pregnancy – according to the industry body for advertisers.
In what seemed to be an attempt to capitalise on royal baby fever, within 24 hours of the pregnancy being announced the Party Pieces website had cleared its decks of seasonal products to promote a range of baby shower gifts and children’s birthday party supplies instead.
But the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) has questioned the wisdom of the decision given that the Duchess is not yet out of her first trimester.
Tessa Gooding, the IPA’s director of communications, said: “I am sure the Middletons will feel like celebrating, like any family would, but I would question the wisdom of such an overt promotion when Kate is still at such a delicate stage. It could backfire on them because of the very fine line they tread between their links with the royal family and their commercial party business.
"They would have been better advised to wait until after the three-month period or at least after she had left hospital and she had made a public appearance or statement that all was well. Then they could have let rip with everyone’s blessing I am sure. PR-wise I don’t believe this rule would apply to what other party companies are doing.”
It is not the first time the Middletons have been accused of taking advantage of their ties with royalty.
The week after Wills and Kate’s engagement was announced, an article appeared on the Party Pieces website entitled, "every little girl dreams of being a princess."
An interview with the Duchess giving tips on party planning also appeared on the website in 2010 and it was quickly taken down. The royal family cannot be seen to be promoting any business or brand, and even though the couple were not engaged or married at the time, she was very much part of the royal circle, and thus had to abide by their rules.