The days are ticking down until Harry and Meghan’s big day – and it’s a real Royal Wedding present for anyone in retail marketing or fashion PR.
Of course, many of us operating in the industry have “been there, done that” already! We have William and Kate’s wedding sitting there as a perfect case study on how to maximise exposure for our clients.
To state the obvious, but the wedding has and will continue to dominate the news pages as well as advertising media, with different genres of journalists making it relevant to their pages.
Beauty advice for Meghan? Tick. Fashion advice for aspiring Meghan wannabes? Another tick. A new twist on the wedding cake? Great big tick.
But for me, what I love to see is the fun, creative, “out there” stories that land with aplomb in the national news pages and compel us to post, share, tweet, discuss further with friends and colleagues. More on how to do that later …
Clearly, what makes this event a fairytale for clients is the commercial gain. Limited edition products that fly off shelves. Bespoke items that make consumers reconsider a brand they haven’t engaged with for some time. The opportunities are endless for brands to reconnect, amuse and entice a very captive audience on both the national and international stages.
Here, I’ve noted some of my favourite stories from the last Royal Wedding and hope it inspires others with their storytelling for this year’s event.
Are you nimble, are you quick?
The first stories I recall from William and Kate’s engagement were fashion marketing related. QVC announced a replica of her engagement ring and because it got them so much press, they have repeated this tactic again with Meghan’s ring – selling for a bargain price of £22.50. And who can remember Kate’s blue dress from the engagement press announcement? This led to brilliant PR for fashion brands. The “Kate Effect” really came into force for Issa when it sold out in hours but there to help was Tesco with its £16 copy.
Fast victories for QVC and Tesco’s retail marketers last time round. Us PRs do this every day, leveraging the topical with speedy outputs but it’s PR gold when you work with a fast-moving client who has the goods ready to go.
An oldie but a favourite tactic for fun exposure is April Fools’ Day. So hats off to BMW who combined the Royal Wedding with this day when they launched their April Fools press ad to ‘’MARQUE THE OCCASION” in their advertising media. The text noted that to celebrate the forthcoming wedding of William and Kate, a very special Royal Edition of the BMW M3 Coupe would be available at dealerships throughout the country in three colours – Regal Red, Bridal White and Imperial Blue. The contact details of email@example.com for me, was the icing on the cake!
Other “old” and commonly used tactics that played out were: a bit of humour (branded sick bags and gnomes), animal-related story fodder (bespoke memorabilia for pets) and the scarcity hook (LK Bennett wedged shoes). It will be interesting to see what old, tried and tested stories retail marketing and PR agencies will start to trot out this year.
Kate and William’s wedding was a first for our digital era. Hands up who watched it on TV while keeping an eye on their Twitter feed?
Within a few hours, Pippa Middleton had an “Ass Appreciation” Facebook page that had 72,000 friends in a day or two. And who can forget T-Mobile's brilliant spoof viral video of the wedding featuring lookalikes? In two days, this digital marketing gold had racked up more than 4.6 million views. At the time, T-Mobile said that the video was “a congratulatory message to William and Kate, as well as a way of capturing the nation’s celebratory mood”.
They certainly did that. Who will top them this year?
People in communications sometimes “borrow” critical mass and a brand following with strategic partnerships. Some brands “borrowed” patriotism in the run up to the wedding, with simple tweaks to their products. Union Flag artwork popped up on a loaf of bread (Hovis) and Diageo ads, to name just two of many.
Other brands were quick to leverage some “borrowed” retail marketing kudos, notably Richard Ward, the hairdresser behind Kate’s bouncy locks. Even trade associations such as the British Retail Consortium and Data Monitor jumped on the wedding bandwagon with thoughtful commentary.
What could you “borrow” to make your brand relevant to this occasion?
Yes – sex sells every time and when you add a large dose of humour into the mix, you have PR gold dust!
A favourite has to be the Crown Jewels Condoms of Distinction, featuring Wills and Kate on the box and the tagline: “Lie back and think of England.” The novelty souvenirs claimed they will provide couples with a “royal union of pleasure and style” by combining “the strength of a Prince with the yielding sensitivity of a Princess-to-be”. Love that copywriter!
The press coverage was amazing, but sadly I cannot find any sales data. If you can, let me know!
I’m not sure this can be trumped, but time will tell …
I hope this has inspired you if you are planning news around the nuptials of Meghan and Harry.
To discover how your brand can utilise PR and marketing to become a relevant part of the big day conversation, contact us now on 0800 612 9890.