OPINION: Jubilee's pageantry can't cover up realities of the Palace brand

Until a month or so there was really no doubt about the marketing campaign of the year - even though it wasn't clear who exactly was responsible.

But somebody with real imagination and talent took a really tired brand that had somehow managed to attract both indifference and opprobrium in equal measure and breathed new life into it.

Millions upon millions of rather sceptical consumers were persuaded to buy into the Monarchy and the Jubilee by the power of the visual images.

Never mind the talk about fragmentation of audiences, this was a triumph for TV, and neither online, outdoor nor direct mail had much to do with it, although personal appearances clearly helped.

Alongside the unexpected success of the work on the main brand, those involved did not allow themselves to be deflected from the more subtle repositioning of Camilla Parker-Bowles. With infinite patience the lady was gradually eased out of the closet and became almost acceptable.

It proved that with the right team you really could manage two very different paced campaigns at once. If only the awards ceremony had come early there would have been no contest. But with the help of a butler, a botched prosecution and the vagaries of Royal memory, it's as if the Jubilee had never been.

Instead of marketing expertise, the Monarchy desperately needs crisis management of the sort only a Max Clifford can provide.

If ever a story is running out of control, with unforeseeable consequences, it is this one. If only Paul Burrell had listened to Clifford's advice, then at least damage limitation would have been possible. Clifford accurately predicted what would happen - sign an exclusive deal with one newspaper and all the other spurned titles will climb over each other in the search of revenge. The resulting feeding frenzy has been terrible to see and has still got a long way to run.

Once the Palace servants are allowed above stairs to sign exclusive deals with newspapers and television channels almost anything can happen. Never mind the allegations of homosexual rape, what are we to make of the claims by The Mail on Sunday that it has another story of "an incident involving a member of the Royal family and a Palace servant"?

The allegation is so grave that disclosure would inflict irreparable damage on the Monarchy, the paper claims coyly, while blaming legal reasons for the lack of names.

At the very least the Queen's Christmas broadcast this year should be one for the connoisseurs - both for what is said and what is not said.

The events of the year prove, if any proof were needed, that the truth of the brand will be outed in the end. You can package and sell a strange brand such as the Monarchy, but if the fantasy of happy families is not supported by reality it's only a matter of time before you have another horrible year on your hands.


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