Crowning Glory: Brands, the Coronation, and the Evolution of Limited Time Offers

The time is fast approaching! Whether you’re a loyal monarchist, or just in it for a good street party, the King’s coronation is nearly upon us and the country is gearing up to celebrate. The bunting is going up, the picnics are being arranged, and the cocktails are getting pre-mixed. But it’s not just the public getting involved. Brands are jumping on the bandwagon with limited-time offers fit for a queen – or king in this case. So, grab a cup of tea (or a glass of Pimms, we won’t judge) and let’s dive into how brands are getting in on the regal action.

Our own work at TVE with brands such as KFC has highlighted how limited-time offers provide key opportunities to build buzz around a brand, gain visibility in the market and even express a bit of personality. When it comes to the coronation, Tyrells and their recent launch of a limited Coronation Chicken flavour is a great example of this. The fun union jack-ification of the product pack as well as comms around the flavour as ‘our crowning glory’ and ‘the true British classic’ shows how tapping into a cultural moment that builds on existing brand values and heritage can deliver a fun and credible activation. Marmite, with its limited edition coronation jar, and Walkers Sensations’ new ‘Regal Lamb & Mint’ and ‘King Prawn Cocktail’ flavours have equally jumped at the opportunity to channel their British heritage into the coronation, successfully creating renewed buzz around veteran brands.

However, it’s not all about what’s new on the shelf when it comes to the coronation. In fact, a significant number of heavy-weight brands are finding a different way of engaging with the event through The Big Help Out. From BT, to Asda, to Microsoft, brands are partnering with the scheme designed to form the biggest-ever combined volunteering initiative from the private sector. The brands involved will lead a range of volunteering opportunities – for example Asda’s ‘Great Community Clean-Up’ or Deloitte’s ‘Beach Clean’ – starting on the coronation weekend and spanning the summer. All of this feels a bit different to your average LTO, and starts to beg the question of how brands might be taking a more nuanced approach to their engagement with cultural moments like this. Is a more ‘serious’ and socially responsible alliance with the coronation warranted by current economic and social hardships in the UK? By increased controversy around the monarchy and the coronation itself? Or just a more general move from brands towards a different style of engagement with these events? Whichever of the above, it’s an interesting insight on how future definitions of ‘limited-time offers’ might be expanding beyond traditional activations.

All hail the power of a cultural moment! From coronation chicken to Waitrose’s ‘Jewel the Jack Russell Cake’, it’s clear that brands continue to be eager to tap into key cultural events such as the coronation. But as we’ve seen, it’s about more than copy-pasting a crown onto a product and calling it a day. In fact, there’s an increasing push for brands wanting to engage with the spirit of the moment, in this case through partnerships which tap into ideals around the community and helping one another, something particularly prevalent in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. Time will tell what this means for the future of limited-time offers and seasonal activations – in the meantime let the festivities commence!

By: Victoria Tann

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