It could be any day now I’m reliably informed by the Daily Express. In fact, I’ve read speculation that the happy event has already taken place and is yet to be announced, although if it has I can’t believe that the parents-to-be have managed to keep their little bundle of joy under wraps from the British tabs. However, the imminent arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby has served to remind me that the CAP Code is very strict on how the royals can be referenced in prize promotions. In fact, it stresses that, “Members of the royal family should not normally be shown or mentioned in a marketing communication without their prior permission.”
If you have a mind to run a promotion linked to the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s first child – and public interest in the event makes that an excellent idea – you have to be very careful not to imply that your promotion is affiliated to, or endorsed by, them. In fact, you should really seek specific permission from the royal couple to be referenced in prize promotions, although unfortunately I suspect that at the moment they might be a little busy putting the final touches to the nursery in Frogmore Cottage.
That said, you should escape imprisonment in the Tower if your promotion is hung on a simple message of congratulation or makes a very general reference to the new baby, who will be seventh in line to the throne. That reference could, for instance, be a prize promotion based around guessing the name of the little princess or prince.
Name-guessing competitions are very popular, but unless Harry and Megs’ baby is christened something rather unusual such as, I don’t know, Cersei or Daenerys, multiple entrants are likely to get the name right, so make sure you set out clear criteria in your terms and conditions, and have an appropriate mechanism in place to ensure that the draw is fair and you can demonstrate that the winner was chosen independently.
Mind you, with a little thought you could probably come up with a more imaginative concept for a prize promotion, but for maximum impact do tie that concept to your brand. It’s easy if you happen to be a purveyor of posh baby paraphernalia, but there will be an angle for you in there somewhere, you may just need to be a little creative.
By the way, betting on the baby royal’s name seems to have been suspended now, which could be an indication that Meghan’s waters have broken, but if it’s a girl, Diana, Victoria and Alice are all among the bookies’ favourites, with Grace – not a traditional name for the Windsor clan – apparently an outside possibility, too. If it’s a boy, Arthur and James top the list.
I must confess I have recently become completely caught up in all the excitement and for the last 24 hours have been constantly checking Twitter for news. Mind you, if you miss putting on a promotion to mark to this happy event, there are rumours that Princess Eugenie, who, you will remember, tied the knot with wine merchant Jack Brooksbank shortly after Harry and Meghan got married last summer, is set to announce she is pregnant, and there is even some wild conjecture that William and Kate are expecting their fourth child, so all is not lost…
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist. Her money is on a girl called Alice.