Queen Elizabeth's 90's Birthday Ad Break

Challenge

The Queen’s 90th birthday was a huge opportunity for ITV to celebrate with an evening’s live entertainment – and we saw a unique chance to help advertisers celebrate along with the nation. Our broadcast of the Queen’s 90th live gala at Windsor Castle, in the presence of Her Majesty, was a spectacular event, which called for something truly special to bring brands to the party.

Insight

From New Year fireworks to royal weddings and Jubilees, the British public love to celebrate national events in the heart of their community. They bring family and friends together, and connect complete strangers from all walks of life. We needed to bring together some of the UK's most iconic brands and unite them with ITV's talent family in a celebration of Her Majesty.

Idea

We planned a joy-filled street party to mingle some of our most-loved talent with the nation's biggest brands, allowing them to connect with each other and interact in new ways. We'd host the party on Corrie's legendary cobbles - the heart of our community. We took our idea out to media agencies and selected clients across the country, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. We eventually connected with 10 brands who would receive the royal treatment: Hovis, Walkers, McCain, Ribena, Cadbury's Milk Tray, Dr. Oetker, Plenty, Interflora, Admiral Insurance and Mr. Kipling.

Implementation

This was a true media first and our most collaborative campaign in history, so sound planning and trust were top of mind, and our creative approach to the 10 chosen brands had to be carefully considered.

We wrote a narrative that brought characters from each brand to life: the Milk Tray Man brought choccies, Hovis made the sandwiches, and Plenty's 'Juan Sheet' cleared up spillages. We then weaved in a whole host of famous faces along the way: Paddy McGuinness kicked off proceedings, with cameos from Fearne Cotton, Keith Lemon and superstar singer Katherine Jenkins, who sealed the break with a powerful rendition of 'Happy Birthday' (whilst happily receiving a bunch of Interflora flowers.) The ad was created by ITV Creative for ITV Commercial's content creation arm, ITV AdVentures.

The contextual fit for the break couldn't have been better: it was broadcast in the second centrebreak of our Queen's 90th live gala at Windsor Castle, just moments after Her Majesty arrived. The break opened with a special message from our continuity announcer, giving viewers a royal welcome over a unique party-themed ITV ident.

We tailored social media plans for every brand, tweeting two weeks before the event to tease followers with pictures of ITV talent, only revealing the backs of their heads to get the audience guessing. The night itself saw further branded tweets, and we also captured the audience's live feedback.

Results

We're unsure if the Queen saw the break herself – she was a bit busy at the time – but 6.6m did watch, with 600k tuning in especially. And they were really paying attention – we achieved the best brand recall we've ever seen:

  • 41% of viewers could recall 7+ brands unprompted
  • 78% 78% could recall 4+ brands
  • 65% Unprompted awareness
  • 71% of viewers agreed that it was ‘thoroughly enjoyable’

This is a hugely complex, ambitious project providing a great way for our commercial partners to come together to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday. It’s another example of the real opportunities for advertisers to work with ITV to create stand-out creative and impact for their brands. We continue to innovate in our airtime and are delighted to have delivered a true media first to mark this amazing occasion. This is a brilliant demonstration of what our ITV AdVentures proposition can deliver for brand partners.

Simon Daglish , ITV Commercial’s Deputy Managing Director

Generating creative solutions for 11 distinct brands into a single commercial with one narrative was a huge creative and account management challenge. We are delighted with the results, which show what’s possible when ITV marries its creative capability with its commercial expertise.

Victoria Findlay , Head of Campaign Management, ITV Creative