Up to 1 million people are expected to pour into London on Sept. 19 for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, but what these crowds of visitors won’t be seeing is any advertising.
Since the Sept. 8 death of the monarch, British advertising has undergone an almost unprecedented blackout, the nearest similarity being the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when the country went into lockdown.
Perhaps the most striking thing is the lack of outdoor ads. Across the capital, many digital screens and billboards have been replaced by tributes to the queen since her death. The biggest outdoor media owners, Clear Channel and JCDecaux, blacked out screens on the day of her death and continued to display tributes in major sites in the run-up to the funeral. On the day of the funeral, all the major media owners will run commemorative content for 24 hours. One of London's most famous sites, Ocean Outdoor’s famous Piccadilly Circus Lights, will run a tribute to the queen. Meanwhile, the LED lighting of the BFI IMAX, a major outdoor site, will turn purple in tribute to the queen on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings from sunset. Vodafone, which is currently advertising on the site, has agreed to the changes, according to an Ocean Outdoor spokesperson.