TORONTO — A picturesque escape from the family. A part-time job at a fast-food restaurant. A lead role in ”The Real Housewives.” A low mortgage rate.
Harry and Meghan already have a wide and at times peculiar range of options for when they move to Canada, at least according to the many advertisements that have sprung up in recent days.
Companies in Canada and the U.S. have seized on the momentum of the royal couple’s break from tradition — from a B.C. public relations firm to Burger King to Expedia.
It’s a series of events that has captured the world’s attention, translating to low-hanging fruit for brands that want to get some extra attention, say experts.
“Brands are attaching themselves to Harry and Meghan as a kind of joke, wink wink,” said Monica LaBarge, a marketing professor at Queen’s University.
“It’s a function of the social media landscape where they have to keep generating new content and (in this case) there’s not a lot of risk or strategizing.”
Jelly Digital Marketing and PR, a firm based in Fort Langley, B.C., contacted HuffPost Canada with the announcement it had offered a job and guided tour to Meghan.
“At the very least we invite you to stop in for a visit at our office in historic Fort Langley, meet the team, and let us show you around the town. It would be an ‘honour’ to have you,” it said in an online statement.
The royal drama is a catchy, relatively lighthearted topic after a barrage of bad news including the Iran plane downing, Australian wildfires disaster, and U.S. impeachment, said LaBarge.
Are the offers a tad desperate? It’s up to their customers to decide, said strategic communications expert Arleigh Vasconcellos, founder and managing director of The Agency.
“If they’re going to do something they know their customers are going to love? Great, all the power to them,” she said.
For the most part people seem receptive to the fun, creative approach.
Canadian bank HSBC ran a half-page newspaper ad Friday that read: “Dear Harry & Meghan, Welcome to Canada! We invite you to apply for one of Canada’s lowest mortgage rates. Cheerio!”
The advertisement is clever and takes advantage of Harry and Meghan’s positive brand, said marketing expert David Soberman, a University of Toronto professor. It also exemplifies how companies have to stay within certain legal parameters to avoid lawsuits.
“There’s a limit to how far you can go,” Soberman told HuffPost Canada. “You can’t make statements that are misleading. You also can’t use their likeness in advertising.”
As Harry and Meghan’s personal brand evolves as they perhaps become more involved in social causes, their response to different advertisements may change.
“A company trying to sell mortgages may get a different reaction than an organization trying to offer better education,” Soberman said.
Other groups that have taken advantage of their decision include the South Wales Police.
And Ikea Italy, whose Instagram ad translated to English says, “Meghan, Harry. We understand you. We are made to change.” It includes the caption: “Moving is a real effort for everyone.”
However, that’s more related to Canadians’ growing disdain for the brand — the “current whipping boy” for a lot of people, said LaBarage.
But for Tim Hortons, the reach the tweet got on social media probably made it worth it, even in the unlikely event Harry and Meghan take them up on the offer.