Giving your adverts the royal treatment

United KingdomScotland

As bunting begins to appear all over the country, the UK public are looking forward to celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee (or at the very least to a four-day weekend). It is therefore inevitable that brands give thought to Jubilee-themed advertising and we can expect some creative monarch-based ads in the coming days.

However, there are a few ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for companies to bear in mind:

  1. Do be cautious about including members of the Royal Family in advertising materials without prior permission. Rule 6.2 of the CAP Code provides that members of the Royal Family should not normally be shown or mentioned in a marketing communication without their prior permission. In particular, caution should be taken not to imply that any product or service is endorsed by the Royal Family.
  2. Don’t use the official Platinum Jubilee Emblem in a manner which does not comply with the guidelines. The official emblem of the Jubilee is free for use by individuals, organisations, companies and charities, including for commercial purposes and advertising. However, there are a set of guidelines for such use published by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office and these should be adhered to.
  3. Don’t use any other Royal Emblems or Arms without prior permission from the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. Such use in advertising may fall foul of Rule 3.52 of the CAP Code. Furthermore, use of the Royal Arms (or arms so closely resembling the Royal Arms as to be calculated to deceive) is potentially a criminal offence under section 99 of the Trade Marks Act 1994.
  4. Do be careful not to indicate, directly or indirectly, that your goods or services are or are of a kind supplied to or approved by the Queen or any other member of the Royal Family, other than in accordance with any Royal Warrant you may hold. This is a criminal offence under section 12 of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968. This potentially includes using photographs of any member of the Royal Family visiting an advertiser’s works or exhibition stand, or being involved with their goods or services. Indeed, this is a circumstance expressly called out as prohibited in guidance from the Lord Chamberlain’s Office.
  5. Don’t forget copyright law. Common images featuring the Queen such as postage stamps and currency may seem like ‘public property’ but such portraits are copyright works and their reproduction without licence may constitute an infringement.