Royal Baby Gives Royal Boost to UK

royal baby 150x150 Royal Baby Gives Royal Boost to UK

The PR Verdict: “A” (PR Perfect) for the new prince’s effect on UK economy.

Economy ailing? Country need a financial boost? Just get your beloved monarchs to give birth to a future king. That’s exactly what Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge did for the United Kingdom when a new prince was born.

Though at press time the baby was still unnamed, the financial figures from the birth of His Royal Highness were already in. The Center for Retail Research estimated that Royal Baby Watchers would spend upward of $420 million in celebration over the birth of the third in line for the throne. There was a boost in visitors to London, not least of which from the media, camped out for weeks to get shots of the royal trip to the hospital and the first photos of the future queen or, as it turned out, king. Commemorative merchandise was for sale, along with donuts iced with baby footprints, and, of course, a lot of alcohol for toasting.

This boost in economy is yet another part of the re-branding, if you will, of the monarchy. In the past, Britain’s royals have struggled with scandal, but recently that has changed. William bucked Buckingham to marry his choice and when Kate was caught topless by paparazzi, the verdict was shame on the magazines that ran the snaps. Now, a baby brings glad tidings during an ongoing worldwide recession. The royals are on a roll.

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) for William, Kate, and the UK’s warm, PR-savvy welcome to the royal baby.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Accentuate the positive. In a time of a struggling economy, good news – from any source – is always welcome. The British Royals have always grabbed the headlines, occasionally like some sort of reality show meets romance novel. William and Kate are playing their PR cards well. It’s called making hay while the son – sorry! – shines.

The People’s Prince

 The Peoples Prince

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) to Prince Harry – excuse us, Captain Wales.

It’s a long way from Las Vegas to Afghanistan. That’s the distance Prince Harry has come from the mortifying nude photos that made headlines a few months ago to the somber, candid interviews he did this week as the prince’s tour of duty in Afghanistan came to a close.

Harry gave a series of interviews to world media, and in them, he seemed happiest when speaking about his time as “Captain Wales,” as he is known in his military unit. Rather than bragging about his ability to be a regular bloke, he was relishing it.

Of course he was asked about those revealing photos from Las Vegas, and Harry’s answer was PR perfection. “I let myself down, I let my family down,” he said. “But it was probably a classic example of me being too much army, and not enough prince.” Nice one! For a royal scandal, there could be no better solution than an honorable stint in the military. It is after all, the great leveller.

THE PR VERDICT: “A” (PR Perfect) to Prince Harry , excuse us Captain Wales and the art of humility.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Sincerity is the PR buzzword. Lance Armstrong’s maneuver of confessing about doping to Oprah Winfrey largely flopped because of his complete lack of heartfelt emotion. By contrast, Prince Harry comes off as human. The Vegas scandal? It’s what people his age do all the time. The military? He’s honored and wishes he could continue. The Crown hasn’t had an easy time of PR management of late but sincerity can save the day. The trouble with Harry? After this media blitz? None at all.

How to Stop Royal History from Repeating Itself?

 How to Stop Royal History from Repeating Itself?

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. (Pictured: Left, Kate Middleton; right, Princess Diana.)

There has been much agita concerning the photos of a topless Duchess of Cambridge taking a break while on a recent private summer holiday. So far, a French and Italian magazine have each said they will publish the topless photos, as has an Irish tabloid. Taken by a lone paparazzo hiding in bushes over 1.5 km away from the pool at the estate where the couple were staying, the photos have created a groundswell of concern. Is this the beginning of history repeating itself with a whole new Diana saga?

The young Royal couple has announced they are fighting back. Unhappy about the invasion of their privacy, they are now seeking an injunction against publication and have also announced they intend to pursue charges against the as yet unknown photographer. The warning shot has been fired and the media is now on notice that the couple will defend themselves.

The PR handbook for dealing with breaches of privacy is limited, and despite legal remedies there is no silver bullet when it come to reclaiming privacy. Other than total withdrawal from public life, what else might the Royals have up their sleeves to muzzle what could become an insatiable media curiosity?

The PR Verdict: “C” (Distinctly OK) for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Using the established legal rulebook makes sense but is unlikely to change the long-term narrative.

The PR Takeaway: Borrow from history to make a striking point. The ghost of Princes Diana wafts in and out of the press coverage regarding the topless photos.  By referencing Diana’s own haunted relationship with photographers, Prince William in particular could change the relationship dynamic with the media. Appealing to the public for privacy, rather than the media, is likely to meet a more receptive audience. A PR strategy that educates the public and chokes off demand for invasive press coverage may be what’s needed if legal remedies disappoint.

Can public sentiment, rather than insatiability for scandal, be used to regain celebrity privacy? Give us your PR Verdict!

Guest Column: The Trouble With Prince Harry? None At All

 Guest Column: The Trouble With Prince Harry? None At All

The PR Verdict: A (PR Perfect) for Prince Harry.

The headlines are too easy: “The Trouble With Harry.” “Dirty Harry.” Prince Harry’s escapade in Las Vegas—a strip poker game that ended with photos of a naked royal—was almost a gift to the tabloids. And yet the Crown may have a PR ace up its sleeve in Harry.

Harry has always been the heir apparent for royal scandal. As third in line for the throne, the pressure to conform to royal standards of propriety is relatively low. Need we go into his father’s anatomical declarations of love for Camilla Parker Bowles? Please, let’s not.

And yes, the young prince occasionally acts out. But this latest adventure had a curious side effect: Harry’s generation seems smitten with him. He is like his peers, caught in some NSFW (Not Suitable For Work) photos. Among Harry’s generation, fame—in any context—is gold. Sealing the turn from scandal to success was Harry’s appearance at a charity event, where he acknowledged his escapade with self-effacing humor (read about it here). Scandal averted, Harry is now the unlikely hero.

The PR Verdict: A (PR Perfect) for Prince Harry. If Buckingham Palace is smart, they’ll continue to rap Harry’s knuckles—and keep him in front of his adoring public, continuing his mother’s legacy: Could he become the People’s Prince?

The PR Takeaway: Mini-scandals can move the PR dial. After doing something naughty but harmless, a public appearance for charity and self-effacing humor are the golden tickets to winning the public’s, and the media’s, hearts. The ploy was used to excellent effect by Fred Willard in the US; days after the actor was caught with his pants down in an X-rated movie theater, he joked about the incident brilliantly on late night TV. Prince Harry should continue to do good works, which offset his occasional lad-like behavior; both bring a younger generation closer to the Crown.