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The Royal Wedding Fever Pitch
By: Kaitlin T. Gallucci
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With just about a week until the royal wedding (of HRH Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton), the globe is abuzz with royal wedding fever. But it’s not just a wedding anymore; it has become a brand opportunity. Not only can the wedding affect the “branding” of the entire royal family and England itself, but it provides a lucrative opportunity for any brand that can develop some sort of affiliation to the nuptials.

The wedding has taken on a brand of its own, with an official website and Twitter updating an adoring public. The website even features a “Coming to London?” callout, which links to a UK government page with information for travelers (needless to say, the UK tourism industry is likely seeing increased business, as expected). According to Reuters, the wedding is predicted to generate a $1 billion (£620 million) boost to the UK economy.

However, blur Marketing discusses how the Royal Wedding can affect the royal family’s “brand,” asking, “in terms of marketing the modern Royal family… can a watered-down ceremony win back disassociated British citizens and placate anti-monarchists – or merely turn away the pro-monarchists and reduce the allure of a British Royal wedding to the rest of the world?” Apparently, whether it’s extravagant or low-key, some citizens may be turned off by it. Similarly, amidst a flurry of commemorative merchandise production, the royal family released details on acceptable and forbidden souvenirs – requiring that commemorative products be “within the bounds of taste and decency” (bounds that somehow did not prevent the creation of the Royal Wedding refrigerator, Royal Wedding toilet seat, Royal Wedding condoms, and Royal Wedding barf bag).”

Another opportunity arose in the form of “street parties,” apparently a popular way for citizens around the country to celebrate the wedding, and various brands are creating wedding-themed versions of their products. As Portrait Software pointed out, “the event trigger marketing opportunities presented by the wedding have prompted a number of companies to build marketing campaigns around it.” For example, Pimms is utilizing the wedding fever for promotion, aiming to be the drink of choice for these street parties. However, Brand Republic raised a good point regarding the appropriateness and potential for backfire, stating, “Only those brands with the generosity and community spirit that characterized the street celebrations of days gone by will benefit from the halo effect of the big day. Those brands looking for a quick profit or branding at any cost risk appearing to be wedding crashers of the very worst kind.” Likewise, a study by JWT London revealed that more than half of consumers believe it is “inappropriate for brands to attempt to increase sales on the back of the royal wedding.” However, 66% of respondents said their purchasing behavior would not be affected by affiliations with the wedding, and 17% said they would be less likely to purchase a product linked to the event…but production and sales of wedding-related merchandise is (expected to be) huge and will continue through October. Like it or not.

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About the Author
Kaitlin T. Gallucci is a New York based direct and digital marketing strategist. She tweets here.
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