Brand Purpose Consumer Sentiment Crisis PR

58% of Brits think brand tributes to The Queen are nothing more than PR tactics


By John Glenday, Reporter

September 15, 2022 | 3 min read

New research shows most people have seen some kind of brand tribute following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.


Skeptical Brits see insincerity in PR tactics

YouGov has found that 69% of people have encountered some form of brand condolence message following The Queen’s death. It also reports that 58% of the British public hold a skeptical view of the mourning on display, saying they believe brand messages are more driven by PR reasons than a sincere desire to pay respect.

Just 28% of those surveyed felt that such messaging came spontaneously from the heart – a proportion that drops to a mere 17% among the most skeptical 18-24 age group.

However, a clear dividing line emerges between brands with a longstanding association with the royal family, with 83% agreeing that tributes paid by brands with a royal warrant are appropriate, while tourist attractions linked to the monarchy are also supported in their mourning by 81% of the public.

For other businesses, it is a different story, with only 60% of the public viewing supermarkets’ words of condolence as appropriate, while 21% go so far as to deem them inappropriate.

The Drum recently spoke to a number of PRs about how they’ve tried to steer brands without well-known ties to The Queen away from comms following her death. Most said their guidance had fallen on deaf ears.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, lingerie and sex toy brands fared poorly when linked in the minds of the public to The Queen, with 54% deeming the tributes paid by the likes of Anne Summers to lack decorum.

Gambling firms are similarly ostracized with 49% left unamused by industry homages, while 32% consider it appropriate.

The findings are derived from a survey of 1,708 British adults conducted between 13 and 14 September – a period in which Center Parcs found itself at the center of a PR storm over its ill-conceived move to evict paying guests as a mark of respect.

Center Parcs was far from alone in mishandling the situation, with Playmobil, Funko and The British Kebab Awards all receiving stick for questionable social media tributes.

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