A HOUSE building company that used images of Duke and Duchess of Sussex to try and sell new homes has had to remove the adverts and apologise for their campaign.
Hagan Homes, one of Northern Ireland’s biggest property developers specialising in building houses for first-time buyers, created the ‘Hagan Homes Fit For Part-time Royalty’ campaign on the back of their split from the Royal Family – ads which were meant to be “light-hearted”.
Among the taglines in the campaign was the message: “Leaving family and moving home can be daunting and stressful – not with us.”
Another states: “If after many months of reflection and internal discussions, you have chosen to make a transition this year to start to carve out a progressive new role as a home owner and if you intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of your family and work to become financially independent, we have the first time buyer home for you.”
A third added: “You might still want to split your time between your new home and family home, best of both worlds.
The campaign appeared on billboards and across the company’s social media, and featured photos of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with worried expressions.
But Hagan Homes did not have the couple’s permission to use their photos, and was swiftly told to remove the ads.
The Belfast Telegraph reported that representatives of the duke and duchess were to take “action” over the advertising campaign.
Founder and chairman of Hagan Homes, James Hagan, said it was not his intention to cause any offence.
The building company has now apologised for the use of the images and said they will make a £10,000 donation to a charity of the royal couple’s choice.
Mr Hagan said: “The ‘Hagan Homes Fit For Part-time Royalty’ campaign was intended to reflect Northern Ireland’s typically light-hearted approach to a challenging situation. Many young people struggle with the complexities of buying a new home and we were keen to emphasise that support is available in such circumstances.”
“We believe Harry and Meghan are strong role models for all young people who are trying to find their own path in life and in recognition of this Hagan Homes is keen to make a donation of £10,000 to a charity of Harry and Meghan’s choice.”
The images of Meghan Markle came from an interview she gave to ITV last November while on a trip to Africa with Prince Harry.
An emotional Meghan revealed in the interview how friends warned that the British tabloids would try to destroy her life.
One of the social media images describes her worried look as one seen many times among first-time buyers.
All social media posts have now been removed, with billboards set to come down on Monday.
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The statement from the Sussexes’ representatives refers to specific guidelines issued by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) covering the use of images of members of the royal family.
The CAP guidelines warn: “Royal images may not be used for advertising purposes in any medium.”
“Potential breaches of the CAP Code will be considered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and, if necessary, referred to Ofcom (broadcast) or Trading Standards (non-broadcast), the ASA and CAP’s legal backstops.”
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