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The Drum Show: can the Royal Family brand survive Prince Andrew's crisis?


By The Drum Team, Editorial

November 29, 2019 | 5 min read

With the fallout from Prince Andrew’s BBC interview still a hot topic in the news agenda, the theme of The Drum Show this week is the Royal Family brand and if it can survive this latest scandal.

The Drum Show

The Drum Show: Episode 11

Host Rebecca Stewart, The Drum's senior reporter, was joined by: Zaid Al-Zaidy, founder and group chief executive at The Beyond Collective; Eva Simpson from The Daily Mirror; and Mark Borkowski, founder of Borkowski PR.

Kicking off the discussion this week was the ongoing crisis facing the Royal Family. Prince Andrew has faced mounting questions over his relationship with convicted paedophile Jeffry Epstein and contact with Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre) following the disastrous BBC interview which aired earlier in the month.

He may well come under further scrutiny as the monarchy braces for Giuffre's appearance in a special hour-long episode of Panorama which will air on Monday 2 December.

Over the past two weeks, the palace has announced Andrew would step back from public duties - including his association with the pitch@palace initiative which has lost a number of major sponsors - and cancellation of his birthday party as it tries to mitigate the damage. All this has continued to spark debate in the national media on whether the monarchy can survive this latest scandal.

Borkowski has frequently commented on the Royal Family for The Drum and said it was "a classic case of hubris" on the part of Prince Andrew and incompetence of the PR team he was surrounded by.

"You see in men of a certain generation that they think 'I can manage this'. There was no preparation," he said.

"He didn't pass the common sense test. You have to think of the audience looking at that and asking 'does this make sense?'. No one takes four days to break up with someone at their house. The statement that was issued to withdraw the public life was the statement that should have been put out 10 years ago."

Simpson said the interview was "worse than she imagined it could be" and pointed to the lack of "any emotional feeling or sympathy towards the victim" as one of the major reason he's been under fire since. "When you go on a programme to put across your side of a story, the first thing you do is say that you feel for the victims. You don't just start blowing your own trumpet," she said.

But Al-Zaidy suggested that while Royal Family’s brand may be dented, it’s not beyond repair.

He added: "There have been many great brands that have done right and wrong things. There are a lot of companies having to right their wrongs so this idea of an institution having to rebuild itself is not something we've not seen before. There's so much love for the Royal Family and there's a huge economy for it.

"But there has to now be a management team that understands how brands and reputation is built and that thanks to digital media the Royal Family is not something we learn about through snippets in the paper. And so their lives need to be organized appropriately."

Elsewhere, Andrew Roberts, co-founder of Gravity Thinking, took part in this week’s bullshit buzzword. While the New York Lottery’s latest spot, ‘Special delivery’, created by McCann New York took The Drum's Work of the Week crown.

The Drum Show will be hosted on LinkedIn and Twitter each Friday afternoon, bringing together voices from across the industry to talk about the top stories of the week.


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