The George Effect

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by Richard Giedroyc

November 19, 2013 – Marketing is the lifeblood of any product, be it coins or anything else. Since the practical application of coin manufacture is to release them for use as money it isn’t always easy to see the marketing forest through the trees.

There are new developments on the horizon, some of which have only recently been stimulated by the birth of the heir to the British throne – young Prince George, the future King George VII of Great Britain.
This time it is the tail wagging the dog, rather than the reverse. The public interest in the baby’s birth has been the fuel encouraging mints all over the world to issue coins using George as the subject. Both the subjects of these coins and their marketing appears to be slowly stimulating additional 21st century ideas for marketing coins as well, which is why I have dubbed what is now beginning as “The George Effect.”
Consider the subject matter currently being presented. At the time this article is being written the birth and christening of the child have already become separate themes for commemorative coins. This is a child not yet old enough to understand anything regarding himself. The many potential coinage themes surrounding his future experiences and activities appears to be endless. How much imagination will it take for mints to identify these subjects, then market coins or medallions to mark these events?
The same can be said about subject matter for additional individuals. Why market people or events that need significant publicity to sell successfully, when there are people and events in the news that have already caught the attention of the general public, allowing much easier marketing of coins or medals celebrating these subjects.
Then there is the distribution to be considered. Welcome to the 21st century. It was a brilliant move by the British Royal Mint to issue a coin marking the birth of the child using the British Royal Mint’s Facebook page, and offering the coins exclusively to new mothers who were fortunate enough to have their child born on the same day as George somewhere in the United Kingdom. What further limited edition collectibles might be marketing in the future using a similar scenario?

The BRM has recently offered clients of a commodities company marketing gold the opportunity to have their gold struck into coins – for a fee!
The Royal Canadian Mint recently offered coins with the fictional cartoon character Superman as the subject.
Consider this – The Royal Australian Mint drew attention to its 2013 $2 Queen’s 60th Anniversary commemorative coin by holding a Twitter hashtag competition to determine which lucky Australian city would get the exclusive rights to offer the coins at a public event! The competition rather than the subject quickly drew in the public.

By George, I think they’ve got something here! It’s called innovation. Coins no longer need to be round. They are occasionally colorized. The events they celebrate are becoming more focused on the interests of the public. They can be publicized and sold on the Internet.
The George Effect is just beginning. Let’s continue to think outside the proverbial square box housing a round coin, using modern interests and technology to produce and market coins.