Royalty and Ad Regulation: Three Tips Fit for a King

This year, we’ve said a sad farewell to the Duke of Edinburgh, but also welcomed the birth of Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor, with preparations are already being made for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next June. Whilst these events all demand a different approach from marketers seeking to associate their campaigns with the tidings of the monarchy, there are a few essential requirements that apply to all Royal-related advertising. To ensure your ads reign happy and glorious, here are three main regulatory principles to be aware of.

Avoid featuring the Royal Family without their permission

As extremely well-known public figures, it may be tempting to feature a prince or princess or two in your advertising. Rule 6.2 makes clear, however, that members of the Royal Family should not be shown or mentioned in a marketing communication without their prior permission. Incidental references unconnected with the advertised product, or references to material such as a book, article or movie about the Royal Family could potentially be acceptable, but in general, avoid unless you’ve received the Royal seal of approval.

Don’t use the Royal Arms/Emblems or refer to a Royal Warrant without authorisation

Featuring the Royal Arms or Emblems or referring to a Royal Warrant is likely to imply official endorsement and as such, marketers are strongly advised against doing so, unless they hold relevant permission.  Rule 3.52 states that any use of the former is prohibited without prior permission from the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, and any reference to the latter should be checked with the Royal Warrant Holders’ Association.

Ensure your souvenirs for The Sovereign comply with our wider rules

Whilst your souvenirs may be royal in nature, they’re still subject to the same Advertising rules as everyone else. In particular, ads should not mislead consumers about the specifics of a product- in 2012, the ASA banned an ad for a “Prince William Royal Bridegroom Porcelain Doll” on the grounds the image of the doll misrepresented what was actually being sold.

It’s also worth noting that whilst souvenir products are not, in and of themselves, likely to be considered to imply royal endorsement, care should be taken to ensure the ad doesn’t imply a product is official memorabilia if it is not. Marketers may wish to consider consulting the Lord Chamberlain’s Office’s website for more specific guidance about what is and what is not permitted by the Crown.

For further information on how to make sure your ads are a Royal knockout, our Copy Advice Team are on hand to provide free, fast and bespoke advice.

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