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The impact of HM Queen Elizabeth II death on the advertising industry

Advertisers reconsider campaigns, and ITV suspends advertising for 24 hours as brands respond on social media.

As the world learned of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, several of the biggest names in UK advertising gathered in a West London church to hear MediaLink, the strategic advisory firm, speak about “great expectations” for the year ahead.

One agency executive told Ad Age that she had spent the entire afternoon emailing clients, including international corporations, to warn them to be cautious about campaign launches and messaging.

Within minutes of learning of the late HRM Queen’s death, brands began to change their plans and postpone campaign launches. John Lewis, one of the country’s most well-known advertisers, had just launched a new TV spot under the brand platform “For All Life’s Moments,” but had temporarily paused the campaign in light of the news.

Other campaigns on hold include Google’s new initiative, led by soccer star Ian Wright, to encourage people to learn new digital skills. Its original Monday launch date has been pushed back.

Other campaigns will be forced to be postponed due to media owners’ decision to suspend some or all of their advertising. Following the Queen’s death, the United Kingdom’s main commercial broadcaster, ITV, suspended all advertising for 24 hours, and Ocean Outdoor suspended ads on all of its digital screens, instead posting a tribute message to the Queen. This morning’s print newspapers, including The Times and the UK’s largest digital newspaper Mail Online, carried no advertising. With ten days of mourning to go and the funeral date still to be determined, it’s unclear when media schedules will return to normal.

All regular television programming has been replaced with royal coverage, which has had an impact on entertainment. And, as a mark of respect, The Crown is rumoured to be paused in production on Series 6, though Netflix has yet to confirm this.

As the country mourns, brands have responded on social media. Many of the first brands to post were traditional British companies, such as John Lewis, Fortnum & Mason, British Airways, Marks & Spencer, and Barbour. These brands’ social media tributes were mostly solemn and respectful.

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