Most think brand tributes to the Queen are motivated more by PR than a sincere desire to pay tribute

Christien PhebyContent Manager
Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
September 15, 2022, 9:30 AM GMT+0

Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II last Thursday, brands have attempted to pay their respects with simple condolence messages, moments of silence, custom workouts, and (in some cases) complete shutdowns.

This has prompted argument over whether it is appropriate or not for, say, Domino’s Pizza to weigh in at a moment of national mourning – or whether it’s strictly necessary for Center Parcs to turf out holidaymakers on the day of the sovereign’s funeral (a decision the firm ultimately reversed after public outcry). It has also led to questions about whether these efforts to pay tribute are genuine or not.

New YouGov data shows that seven in ten Britons say they’ve seen brand condolence messages (69%) from in the wake of the Queen’s death, with 17% saying they have not. But, when asked about these brands’ motivations, three in five members of the public say that they’re more driven by PR reasons than a sincere desire to pay their respects (58%), with just three in ten saying it’s more likely that these messages come from the heart (28%).

The public are most likely to believe that tributes from brands with a royal connection are appropriate

Our polling shows that not all corporate condolences are created equal. The public are most likely to think that tributes from brands with strong royal ties are appropriate: 83% think tributes from brands with a royal warrant are appropriate, while nearly as many say the same from of tourist attractions with a royal connection 81%.

Supermarkets are some way behind in the public’s estimation, with three in five (60%) saying their tributes are appropriate and a fifth (21%) saying they are inappropriate. It’s a similar story with tourist attractions that aren’t strongly affiliated with the royal family (59% appropriate vs 22% inappropriate), greeting card companies (57% vs 22%), and food companies (56% vs 23%).

At the very opposite end of the scale, most of the public think it’s inappropriate when lingerie and sex toy brands pay homage to the Queen (54%), with just a quarter saying otherwise (27%). Gambling companies are close behind (32% appropriate vs 49% inappropriate).

So, well meant as tributes from Ann Summers and William Hill might be, the public would – on balance – prefer to hear from Fortnum & Mason’s and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Three quarters support school closures on the day of the Queen’s funeral

The Queen’s upcoming funeral has left certain companies and institutions with the choice of carrying on as usual – or suspending activity to pay their respects.

Three-quarters of the public support school closures (77%) and museum closures (75%) closures on the day Her Majesty is laid to rest, with nearly as many saying the same of high street retailers (72%).

Most Britons also think it’s right to halt postal services (66%), supermarket shopping (65%) on the day of the funeral, and – despite outcry from the likes of Garys Lineker and Neville – a majority also support suspending football matches (56%) until after the event.

Britons are less convinced that it’s appropriate for weather services to reduce their public weather announcements, being evenly split on whether it is right (40%) or wrong (43%) to do so. And while several NHS trusts have announced the postponement of procedures such as knee replacements and cataract surgery, the public are more likely to think it was wrong (54%) to cancel non-essential appointments than right (32%).

The aforementioned outcry over Center Parcs – which announced that vacationing guests would be forced to end their holidays early, stay elsewhere on the day of the Queen’s funeral, or ask for a full refund – broadly reflects public sentiment. Just 13% say it was right for accommodation providers to close on the day of the Queen’s funeral, while 77% say it was the wrong course of action.

See the full results here

Photo: Dale Vince, Crazy Frog, Center Parcs, Playmobil, Ann Summers