The coronation of King Charles III on May 6, 2023 will likely be the largest media event of the year, watched by billions on all the television stations around the world, occupying the cover pages of all newspapers, and filling every online platform with news and gossip.
The fact that a coronation receives widespread, global exposure has not gone unnoticed by advertisers seeking to leverage the event to market their products. This was true during previous coronations as well. Advertising agencies across the globe were recruited to help seize the moment and find a way to tie their clients’ products to the event.
The Research team at the MyHeritage company dove into the collection of historical newspapers in the MyHeritage database, reviewed dozens of newspapers from all over the world, and explored the ads surrounding past coronations to see how advertisers got creative and promoted their products in the spirit of the times.
King George VI’s coronation, 1937
During the 1937 Coronation of George VI, television sets were not yet available to bring the event into the homes of billions of people around the world. At the time, the best way to follow current events was by listening to the radio. It’s not surprising that Murdoch’s offered a deal on “world wide radio sets” in their ad published in the Melbourne newspaper Truth on May 2, 1937:
The climax of the coronation event is the placing of the crown on the king’s head. The gold crown, studded with precious stones, creates a natural association with jewelry and finery of all kinds. This made the work of the advertising agency who created this ad, in the Australian newspaper Gippsland Times, extremely easy:
Coronation is a strong card for fashion advertisers. Adilman’s department store published an ad in the Canadian newspaper Saskatoon Star with the photo of the royal couple on May 11, 1937 offering affordable closets in the “royal style”:
“It’s the members of the royal family who are setting the pace for fashions in clothing,” it reads. “Expensive and well-appearing are the words that express the new styles. You may not be able to afford the fashions of Royalty, but you can afford appearance because Adilman’s offer you more advanced styles, better quality at economical prices.”
So if fashion and royalty clearly go together… what do washing machines have to do with the coronation of a king? Well, some advertiser was forced to find a creative answer to that question to create this ad, which offers a deal on electric washers from Currier-McKnight Co. It was published in the Ottawa Citizen, Canada, in May 11, 1937:
Here’s what they went with: “Under the reigns of Queen Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII and now George VI Coronation year will be a year of Thanksgiving in your home, if you arrange your budget to purchase a modern Connor electric washer.”
It’s a bit of a stretch, guys.
Flowers, on the other hand, are much easier to associate with the coronation of a king. Want your garden to look like the king’s palace? Krock’s Hardy Plants will make your yard royal:
Whitehall liquor importers did not miss an opportunity to promote a good imported whiskey in their ad at the Boston Traveler, May 11, 1937:
“Every bottle of this special shipment of Cutty Sark will bear a beautiful replica of the Coronation Crown, an interesting memento of the coronation of George VI,” boasts the ad.
Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, 1953
Jumping forward in time to Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation 16 years later, the world had changed in many earth-shattering ways. Aside from the aftermath of World War II and the decline of imperialism, technology had advanced a great deal. The Queen’s coronation was the first ever to be televised.
On June 2, 195, General Motors ran an ad in the Boston Globe presenting the time and channel of the Coronation Day TV broadcast on NBC as a “public service”:
The crown is a universally recognized symbol of royalty. Ford Motors Australia managed to associate it with their brand by calling it, along with the wheel, a symbol of “a better way of life.”
“A crown and a wheel, symbols of a better way of life… its essential purpose, like the dedication of our royal sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, is service to the people,” reads the ad.
The word “dedication,” used by Queen Elizabeth in her 21st birthday speech 6 years before she was crowned, became a buzzword in commercial campaigns on Coronation Day. In the ad below, Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd. quote the queen talking about her dedication to their service and add: “We humbly join ourselves in dedication and pledge our loyalty in service to our queen and country.”
Kudos to the creative advertiser for supermarket company Stop & Shop, who promised that the “royal carpet” would be out for every customer who shopped in their store in this ad published in the Boston Globe, June 2, 1953:
And finally, in 1953, they also raised a glass of whiskey in honor of the Queen. Interesting, however, that the ad published in The Sydney Morning Herald is addressed to “gentlemen” only:
Perhaps this was because in the 1950s, whiskey was seen as a “man’s drink,” and they were directly addressing their target audience.
It’s fascinating to look back at how these brands jumped on the coronation bandwagon in the past. Find intriguing stories about your own family history in our historical newspaper collection!
The post Old Coronation Day Ads: How Companies Leveraged Previous Coronations to Promote Products appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.
Source: My Heritage
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