Queen's virus message on London's Piccadilly Lights wins plaudits

Ocean came up with the idea which has generated "phenomenal" response.

Queen: messages will appear until 19 April
Queen: messages will appear until 19 April

Quotes from Queen Elizabeth II’s coronavirus speech have appeared on London’s Piccadilly Lights for the first time in the history of her 68-year reign.

In an effort to boost morale as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, Ocean Outdoor (which operates the out-of-home site) has paired images of the Queen at Windsor Castle with reassuring quotes from her speech, with references to the NHS and Dame Vera Lynn’s We'll Meet Again.

Running until 19 April, the images are provided by PA Media and will not appear alongside any other advertising.

"I want to thank everyone on the NHS front line as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles," one quote reads, while another reassures: "We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again."

Piccadilly Lights: ads follow the Queen's speech on Covid-19

"We’re proud to be sharing the Queen’s message of support for the nation on Piccadilly Lights," Derek Manns, commercial media manager at Landsec, the company that owns the Piccadilly Lights, said.

"We hope it will provide some light for Londoners as we continue to work through these unprecedented times."

Last Sunday, the Queen’s speech was watched by about 24 million people and marks only the fifth time she has given such a speech during her reign.

Richard Malton, chief marketing officer at Ocean, had the idea to put the Queen's message on the site after watching her broadcast.

"The Queen’s address to the nation was inspirational and reassuring. Her Majesty the Queen is London’s most famous resident – where better to extend her message to Londoners than Piccadilly Lights?" Malton said. 

"It has been an honour working with the [Buckingham] Palace to make this happen."

Tim Bleakley, chief executive of Ocean, added: "Richard was watching her speech and said straight away: 'We need to get hold of the Palace.' Amazingly, the Palace said it was a fantastic idea. Then it was just about getting the copy approved.

"We did it in-house. The quotes were stripped out by our PR, Susann Jerry, and the copy was done by Dave Tait, our head of design – we call him 'Tait Modern'.

"The response has been phenomenal across social and PR. I've had people getting in touch from all over the world." 

Images of the Queen's message on the Piccadilly Lights have been posted and retweeted tens of thousands of times within 24 hours.

Ed Vaizey, the former Conservative culture minister, tweeted that it was a "fabulous initiative from Ocean Outdoor". 

Dan Wootton, executive editor of The Sun, said on Twitter: "What an incredible way to transform Piccadilly Circus during these difficult and extraordinary times."

Bleakley said: "It shows the role of digital out-of-home in our communities, even as the government has effectively turned off our audience [because of the lockdown]."

He praised all of the UK's outdoor media owners for showing support for the NHS and other good causes during the crisis.

"We [at Ocean] probably have a beacon-type screen in all of the top 10 cities in the UK and it's quite important they don't go dark and are helping the situation and reinforcing the government's message [about staying at home]." 

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