How brands went jubilee crazy this summer

Been to the shops lately? Take a trip and you’ll notice that things aren’t quite as you’d expect them to be. Lots and lots of famous brands have gone all patriotic on us, casting aside their brand guidelines in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

From product packaging being splashed with old Blighty’s red, white and blue to complete product name changes, it seems every brand is jumping on the jubilee bandwagon this summer. The burning question is, who’s done Britain proud and tied their brand to this very special occasion with diligence and honour and who has the potential of being sent to The Tower? Here’s a look at some of the best and worst cases.

Best of British

Marmite? I think you’ll find it’s pronounced Ma’amite

British breakfast staple, Marmite, spread excitement for the Diamond Jubilee by releasing a special edition of the jar called Ma’amite. It ditched its famous yellow top and label, replacing it with a red top and union jack, and used the slogan ‘Toasting the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee’.

The commemorative jar was supported by a 30 second viral advert, which uses the brand’s ‘love it or hate it’ slogan. The viral advert features one of the Queen’s corgis dashing through Buckingham Palace on the hunt for the perfect breakfast, but all they can muster is Marmite on toast. A version of the ad was shown on The Mall over the jubilee weekend.

Marmite pulled off the tribute brilliantly. Being a British brand since 1902, it felt natural for them to join in with the celebrations. Plus, they’ve a better reason than most to celebrate; it’s also the company’s 110th anniversary!

Kingsmill becomes Queensmill
For two weeks only, British bread brand Kingsmill cheekily rebranded as Queensmill. The name change is clever, subtle and fits in with the jubilee celebrations nicely. Even better, bread would have been an essential item at jubilee street parties across the country, and Kingsmill’s name change is a crafty way to get consumers picking up their brand on the Queen’s big day.


Peppa Pig meets the Queen

A special episode of children’s TV show, Peppa Pig, aired on June 4th with an appearance from the Queen – her appearance marked the first time a human character had featured in the series. The episode is designed to get young viewers involved in Diamond Jubilee activities.

During this particular story, Peppa’s friend, Miss Rabbit, is selected to receive an award at Buckingham Palace for her hard work and brings along her friends for her once-in-a-lifetime appearance.

Peppa Pig producer Phil Davies said, ‘As a British production, it’s only fitting that Peppa Pig pays tribute to the Queen and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to put her into the show.’

To support the launch of this episode, a Peppa Pig jubilee email newsletter was sent out to parents. It offered jubilee party activity ideas, jubilee themed competition and, of course, promoted the up coming release of ‘The Queen’ episode.

Strictly speaking, this isn’t a marketing venture, but the approach and use of multi-media to create awareness of the Diamond jubilee is certainly a first and intriguing enough to be put in this list.

Brands that had a right royal stinker

Old El Paso
The Diamond Jubilee is a great British celebration. So it’s only natural that a famous Mexican food brand wants to be part of it, right? Old El Paso has tried to get in on the jubilee action with a multi-marketing campaign. But with no British ties, and a weak strapline, ‘the jubilicious weekend’, the move just didn’t have any credibility. Perhaps a bit of irony and humour would have made for a smarter approach?

Pampers union jack nappies

Talking about cack ideas, Pampers have thought up union jack nappies. That’s right, on the day of the jubilee; babies throughout Britain will be parading around in their nappies proudly. Now maybe it’s just me, but aren’t nappies normally covered up? Apart from the unfortunate person who’ll be wiping the kid’s bum, whose going to see this? I think we can safely say there are better ways to pay tribute to the Queen than this.

For me, Buxton could and should have found it easy to tie itself successfully to the Diamond Jubilee. Buxton is a proud British brand, and is able to claim that it provides British natural mineral water to the nation.

That’s why its Diamond Jubilee campaign was so disappointing; they produced a poor press campaign that relied on the weak pun ‘Queenessentially British’, a play on their current slogan ‘Quintessentially British’. The link ends there and it feels like the brand missed an opportunity to do something that could have been much more memorable.

OK! Magazine
Celebrity gossip magazine, OK!, were about as subtle as a slap to the face when they tied themselves to the Diamond Jubilee. They took a wonderful picture of people at the jubilee concert flying union jacks and photoshopped the OK! logo onto every flag. There’s no taste, no class and certainly no idea here, it’s just thoughtless opportunism, and our Queen deserves better.

Why did brands want to pay tribute to the Queen?
Brands are always trying to associate themselves with the things that interest their consumers, and the jubilee is no different. Not only was the event something that the whole nation had an interest in (even if it’s just for the four-day weekend), it was also a time of national celebration. For brands, being associated with that kind of feel good factor can be invaluable, and that’s why so many of them were flying the British flag.

However, there can be repercussions for brands that try to get all patriotic. Recent research produced by the brand consultancy Coley Porter Bell found that the explosion of Union Flag imagery appearing on packaging was irritating many consumers.

Over 56% of respondents to the survey said that brands that wished to stress their allegiance to Britain should only do so subtly. More than 25% went as far as to warn that they found such patriotism offensive.

So, if you want to associate your product to a country, an event or person – tread carefully. Take a leaf out of Ma’amite’s book and associate your product with something it can naturally relate to, and execute it with style, wit and imagination.