MPA Creative and MPA Commercial have been appointed to oversee the digital transformation and relaunch of Debrett’s, the world’s leading etiquette guide and chronicler of British aristocracy for over 250 years.
John Almon published the first edition of The New Peerage in Piccadilly, London in 1769, documenting the ‘Present State of the Nobility of England, Scotland, and Ireland’ along with family details, mottos and coats of arms. This was the first edition of what soon became known as Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage. The 150th edition was published in 2019 to celebrate Debrett’s 250th anniversary, recording over 3,300 British Peers and Barons, their family members and histories.
Since the mid 1900s, Debrett’s has also established itself as the world’s leading authority on protocol and correct form, publishing a range of guides on traditional British etiquette including Correct Form, Debrett’s A–Z of Modern Manners, Debrett’s Wedding Handbook, Debrett’s Guide for the Modern Gentleman and Debrett’s Handbook.
A digital future
With extensive experience in creating and promoting digital content, MPA has conducted substantial research to guide and prioritise the process of migrating 250 years of historical records to form a searchable global database.
This unique historical source is set to expand as Debrett’s re-introduces the highly successful People of Today archive – which documented details of tens of thousands of notable people from across the spectrum of British society – in a digital form. Debrett’s plans to launch its new global subscription service in summer 2021.
The new service will allow individual and business subscribers to search the database across multiple criteria including family name, coat of arms, title, education, profession and rites of passage.
In addition, MPA has commissioned Elizabeth Wyse, author and leading authority on etiquette, to create new business and international content. This newly-created output, together with Debrett’s existing etiquette guidance, will be available online and in print in the second half of 2021.
Darryl Eales, Chairman of Debrett’s said “I have a passion for history and Debrett’s has a unique place in our shared heritage; I feel a strong sense of responsibility to preserve this historical record for the future. Debrett’s is about social mobility and aspiration, providing an opportunity for people with ambition to succeed and celebrating that success. MPA understand that ethos and history and has the skills to help us safeguard the business for future generations; it is great to have them on board at this critical time in Debrett’s history.”
Ian Burrows, Chief Operating Officer of MPA and interim Managing Director of Debrett’s said “This is a unique project and we are delighted that Darryl has put his faith in us and the team at Debrett’s to undertake this vital work. We’re working on a 250 year-old start-up and while it is hugely exciting, the task comes with great responsibility. The Debrett’s audience has given us clear guidance to safeguard and nurture the Debrett’s record for generations to come. With their help we plan to establish firm foundations to help the business thrive for a further two and half centuries.”
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