Last month, the UK was captivated by King Charles III’s coronation and with eyes across the world tuned in to witness the historic occasion, it’s not surprising that brands across all different sectors wanted a slice of the pie.
From Heinz’s Tomato ‘Kingchup’ to Uber’s ‘Coronation Carriage’ experience, we’ve looked at who came out in crowning glory. And what the fierce competition meant for those trying to weigh in on the action.
The coronation presented the perfect opportunity for brands big and small to gain both consumer and trade media coverage. The fundamentals, remaining unchanged, positioned those with a strong hook and a timely approach to achieve compelling results. Journalists received a wide range of pitches, intensifying the competition for visibility in overflowing inboxes. ‘Official’ content alone was reserved for the days leading up to the coronation, leaving brands a limited window to secure coverage.
Consumer magazines and online outlets ran taste tests, product round-ups and recipe suggestions. Those engaging in experiential activity reserved bigger slots in national newspapers and online counterparts.Tesco gained coverage in almost every national newspaper for the opening of its first-ever public house, ‘The King in the Castle’. Meanwhile, FMCG trade titles focused on the brands launching new products or packaging to celebrate the momentous occasion. From new product launches and limited-edition packaging to bigger stunt activations the food and drink sector was brimming with creativity.
Noting NPD and packaging that got attention, those choosing King-themed updates dominated consumer media coverage. Inherently, British brands also had the upper hand here. According to Mintel, 45% of consumers said that the coronation made them feel more patriotic. What’s more, a further 35% of millennials aged 27-33 claimed the coronation made them want to buy more ‘made in Britain’ products[i]. The ‘buy British’ movement has been growing for some time, and last month’s events only strengthened it.
From the best of British, we saw Silent Pool introduce a special coronation gin. Cadbury release an exclusive 850g chocolate bar featuring a regal crown on its packaging. Pimm’s treated us to an updated bottle featuring creative coronation artwork. Walkers launched King Prawn Cocktail Crisps and we can’t forget M&S’s Coronation Colin the Caterpillar Cake! Almost every major food and drink retailer also adapted their ranges to cater to coronation parties and luncheons. This allowed the media to quickly pick up on the swathes of NPD hitting the shelves.
For some of the smaller FMCG brands looking to gain cut-through, those that failed to inject some regal theme into their offering may have been disappointed with the lack of coverage. As an event that most of us have seen before in our lifetimes, it came as a unique learning experience for those who missed out this time around.
It’s undeniable that royal fever took over UK media for the first half of 2023. There has been no comparable PR opportunity for FMCG goods like King Charles III’s Coronation.
Innovative NPD, combined with a key calendar date, ensured that some of Britain’s best-loved brands produced the crown jewels of coverage, while others saw it as a learning opportunity to understand what it takes to achieve successful media traction around a key calendar date.
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