How to grab a Royal share of the news…

Share the news

There is no better news story to lift the nation’s spirits than the birth of a royal baby, enhanced shortly after with the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. This double whammy of feel-good blanket editorial coverage will gather pace in the coming days and weeks, and many brands out there will be thinking of creative ways to become part of these celebrated national occasions…

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I have been involved with picture-editing the Royals since my career began at HELLO Magazine in 2002. On a weekly basis I was creating colour supplements or pull-outs of some description of one of the Royals. I remember doing a 48 page glossy special for Prince William’s 21st birthday, which featured a pictorial retrospective of his life.  From wearing vintage nautical uniforms as a toddler, to arriving for his first day at school wearing the iconic uniform of Eton,  I became an expert in the young Prince’s sartorial choices. Jump forward a decade to his wedding to Kate Middleton on 29th April 2011 and I was entrenched with the entire editorial staff of the Daily Mail newspaper, fashion-checking the guests as they arrived at church and creating picture galleries as quickly as people stepped from their Rolls Royces.

(PA Images)

(PA Images)

At TNR I experienced similar Royal ‘Fever’ for the Queen’s 90th Birthday as we worked with a few brands, some of whom had come up with some bright ideas to join the national coverage. The Queen’s image re-created using car parts for Kwik Fit was impressive. Her portrait, which we see daily on bank notes and stamps, was re-invented with a unique twist. The artist involved captured her likeness and there was high level of production value and scale in the project. The editorial ‘why’ was enhanced beyond simply the birthday celebration to encompass a motoring link in that the Queen had  trained and served as a mechanic during the Second World War. Another project, which I don’t usually advise doing, was a re-brand of Burger King to Burger Queen. Usually any kind of logo stunt like this falls into advertising or promotional and is anathema to editorial picture desks, but this one resonated well. Amongst lots of images of the Queen herself and flag-waving members of the public there was a space for an ‘internationally’ known company to break with something that they had invested billions in protecting, their ‘brand’,  and tip it on its head for one day only. On these occasions it is nice to see our images reach a global audience.

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There are so many sectors that could ‘hook’ their story to these momentous occasions. But from my experience, what I think is important is keeping the project positive to reflect the national mood. Fun and quirky is great as long as it has unique and different production values. If you can add more to the ‘WHY’ the project is taking place, like the great Kwik-Fit example, then you are adding another dimension. Just ensure your link to the story is not too tenuous. The important thing is to not go against the main story. Your project should go live the week leading up to the big day. Don’t try selling in your story when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on the steps of the Lindo Wing with baby number three, or when Prince Harry and Meghan are exiting St George’s Chapel in Windsor – media won’t care that late in the day. If in doubt, give us a call with your idea and we will help sanity check the merits it has.  And remember, it is a time for celebration!

(PA Images)

 

With over sixteen years experience as a Picture Editor, Craig Gunn is Head of Photography at TNR and former Executive Picture Editor at the Daily Mail. You can follow him on LinkedIn here or learn about our PR Photography Workshops here.

 

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