WHIRL Guest Blog by Dr. Audrey Guskey, associate professor of marketing, Duquesne University
It’s the marketing of the monarchy at its finest. One billion people watched the royal wedding. One billion dollars were spent on merchandise, travel, and food for the gala event, fit for a king.
Why the obsession with the Royal Family? You need to understand the British culture. The loyalty the British have to their royalty is kind of like the loyalty Pittsburghers have to the Steelers. The fan base of fanaticism and craziness we celebrate in Pittsburgh is similar to the royal fans of Great Britain, only they are a bit more sophisticated and posh. You won’t see them painting their faces for the princess and prince, and you won’t see them waving terrible towels. But they did wear masks of Kate and Will, they did toast with Kiss Me Kate beer, and tailgating in front of Buckingham Palace went long into the night. Their cheers on the streets of London resounded like the cheers at Heinz Field. To the English, their royalty rules in more ways than one. This Cinderella love story has captured the hearts of the Brits and viral monarch mania has swept across the globe.
And you gotta love the stuff attached to the wedding. There are the classic dolls and tea sets, pillows and china. But there are also Pez dispensers and commemorative refrigerators. And don’t forget the ash trays, The Royal Wedding for Dummies book, and press-on nails. One out of every five Brits said they were going to buy a royal collectible; mugs, tea towels and plates were the most popular. And yes, the Royal Family gets a cut on the authentic stuff.
If you watched any of the media coverage of the wedding, you surely noticed the comparisons to Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding. But have things changed in 30 years? The public’s appetite for royal weddings is a strong as it ever was. But social media allowed us to barge right into the midst of the London celebrating.
The week before the wedding, there was a new post every 10 seconds about Kate and William. That’s 9,000 posts a day. You could buy wedding merchandise to personalize your royal wedding experience. Royal apps allowed you to stay connected. There were endless hours of TV coverage—TLC alone showed 89 hours of wedding, and the Web was filled with live streams, tweets, and blogs.
The wedding gown will be copied by countless brides. The famous blue engagement dress is also a winner. And we in the states can only hope the hat trend doesn’t come across the pond. The fashion, food, hair styles, and everything British is going to influence American weddings for a long time.
But perhaps the crowning achievement of the royal wedding is that the Royal Wedding has put England back on the map. With years of scandal and tragedy, the royal wedding between a prince and a commoner and its modern fairy tale provided Great Britain with a positive image — which is absolutely priceless. The world has given England royal treatment. Cheers to you, William and Kate! The marketing is fit for a future king and queen!