Brands maintain a low key presence in wake of Queen’s death – but for how long?

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last week, the mood for marketers has mostly been to stay quiet.

Some have delayed campaign launches, and a few brands have shared restrained messages of condolence on Twitter, including John Lewis, Domino’s, McDonald’s – and Unilever, which has taken its account into black and white.

It’s a tough call, but surely the delay in activity can’t go on too long? Official government advice is that “there is no obligation on organisations to suspend business during the period of national mourning” which lasts a full 17 days and means suspending parliament business for that time.

The bank holiday for the funeral on Monday 19th could impact the economy by as much as £1.4bn, according to some estimates, with a knock-on effect on GDP for the month of September. And we’ve already had two extra bank holidays for the royals this year, thanks to the jubilee.

Particularly in the current business climate, putting life (and football) on hold doesn’t make sense. Although Liz Truss is not setting a great example: she has decided to suspend some of her own duties this week so that she can join King Charles III on his tour of the nations, rather than focus on the business of being PM.

Unlike most brands, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has found it hard to hold back. He got in a Twitter spat for defending the Queen’s honour after Nigerian-born professor Uju Anya attacked her for her part in the UK’s empirical past.

But for brands, the death of a monarch is surely time to keep calm and carry on. Despite blanket media coverage of the royals, the most-read story on the BBC website is about the Ukrainian offensive, which suggests that most of the country is ready to move on too.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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