Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Harry's Tour Was Perfect Manoeuvre

Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Harry's Tour Was Perfect Manoeuvre

Article excerpt

It may be only March, but just as it is obvious that BBC business editor Robert Peston's Northern Rock disclosures will win every journalism award going, so the marketing campaign of the year is already clear.

Only the highest praise will do when you take on not one, but two thoroughly tarnished brands, come up with an unambiguously winning campaign and have the media on your side week in, week out.

Lord Saatchi eat your heart out. Unless, of course, Lord Saatchi was secretly involved; you never quite know with these sorts of brands who does what to whom.

In any case, whoever it was, it is impossible to heap too much praise on those who were responsible for the marketing of the 'number-three slot' in the royal succession stakes.

First, you have to acknowledge that the basic brand, royalty, has been in dire need of refreshment. There have, of course, been some bright spots. The ravings of Mohamed Al Fayed at the Diana inquest have been enough to make anyone sympathetic to the Duke of Edinburgh, a remarkable thing by anyone's standards. The rehabilitation of Camilla prior to her second marriage was also deftly handled. But how do you solve a problem like Prince Harry?

Lots of headlines, of course, but all of the wrong sort; drunken antics in the early hours, Nazi uniforms as a jolly jape and the usual on-off girlfriend stuff.

Then there is the Ministry of Defence (MoD). When confidential laptops are not being mislaid and essential body armour never there to be lost in the first place, it is in severe need of an image overhaul. Moreover, when 'sales' in the form of recruitment are inevitably hit by the effect of news of roadside bombs and mortar attacks, something needs to be done.

Surprisingly, the solution was there all the time - send Prince Harry to Afghanistan.

In one brilliant military manoeuvre, the reputations of the Prince, the entire royal family and the MoD have been transformed, at the same time boosting recruitment numbers.

Was there ever such a win-win promotional campaign? The only slight problem was the secrecy issue. In the world of the web, the concern was how to stop the Taliban getting their hands on a perfectly sincere and brave young man and, more to the point, his colleagues.

Such a thing is surely impossible in today's world. …

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