Maybe it’s like a commercial? Trying to find relevance in the Royal Wedding.

May 2, 2011

Loving embrace or key frame?

I did not get up to watch the Royal Wedding. I did not watch it on tape delay either. I did not record it. I did not even read any stories leading up to it. In fact, I gave it about as much thought as a soccer match in Paraguay.

But, judging from the hubbub it appears I am in the gross minority. Granted, I live in a house of women: a wife and three little girls. They’re fascination with this “event” was off the charts. Weddings in general seem to enthrall them, as they are also huge fans of The Bachelor.

But I digress. The Royal Wedding (and I am capitalizing it under protest) was a global phenomenon. This I cannot deny. But for the weeks leading up to it I kept on asking myself: Why? Oh, I knew the answers (Royalty! Pageantry! Romance!), I just wasn’t comfortable accepting them.

I’m a man. And I’m a cynical man. I struggle with weddings. One of the few joys of turning 40 was the precipitous drop in wedding invitations. No more wasted summer Saturdays (and sometimes Fridays) devoted to these dressy, formal and interminable celebrations. No more donning a suit at 11 AM and not being able to take it off until midnight. No more disco dancing with inebriated yuppies in stuffy country clubs. No more choosing between bland codfish or overcooked filet. I was free at last!

I’m also an American. Despite our country’s corrupt and/or ridiculous politics I still find the monarchy an upsetting and archaic concept. I don’t care what anyone says, being born into rule is just plain wrong.

So, for me the Royal Wedding was, at best, a silly distraction and at worst, insufferable.

Until, that is, I was able to find an angle that made sense. The Royal Wedding was an anthem commercial for Great Britain! With that in mind, I could finally understand its appeal. The costumes. The props. The protagonists. All of it worked better, in my mind, as an anthem. We have the Superbowl. They have that.

Now that’s branding!

I received this epiphany after coming across a Tweet from one of my followers in London. He said, “Today I feel proud to be an Englishman!” And that’s when it hit me. The nuptials of this comely couple served as an anthem for a country, world and species in dire need of cheering up. On that front, this one-off commercial hit it out of the park.

Of course, it all comes crashing down when the Prince gets caught boinking a chambermaid. Then, it’s back to the scandal and everyday nastiness that we’re all accustomed to. Not to worry, however. A regal and global funeral for the Queen Mother will bring us all back.

Special note: Writing for Adweek,, Christopher Silvestor claimed the Royal Wedding was a bust across the pond. Go figure.


2 Responses to “Maybe it’s like a commercial? Trying to find relevance in the Royal Wedding.”

  1. Paul M. said

    I, too wondered. And then I spoke with my 80 year old Dad who got up early to watch the wedding. When I asked him why he said “This was a rare occasion where 2 billion people tuned in, logged on or listened to something happy going on in the World. I wanted to be a part of that.”

  2. While I didn’t get up early to watch the wedding, I did watch some of the coverage and was reminded, once again and refreshingly so, that the world at large is not a large version of America. I enjoyed the reserved responses of the Brits who would not take the American media’s bait to designed incite sound-bite controversy regarding the event, as if it were somehow inappropriate because the country is having financial difficulties like many others around the globe. I enjoyed the fact that it was civilized and a spectacle that, unlike our ‘revered’ Super Bowl, is not measured in terms of ad dollars spent but instead, like the above gentleman’s comments, by a far simpler and more genuine feeling of enjoyment, emotion and basic humanity. As a member of the marketing and advertising industry, I have found that sometimes I need to remind myself that not everything needs to be viewed in terms of opportunity for material gain or spin. Curiously, I find that our best work is when we get back in touch with the real and human emotions, and then apply that to our work. As a copywriter for many years, I find that my best work always comes from genuine feeling, and the ability to utilize that feeling in order to touch a larger audience. Sometimes, perhaps, we should be cautious not to grow too thick a callous and be narrow in our vision, but instead to take the risk of being vulnerable to actual feeling and emotion, because that’s the wellspring of truly great – and effective – work. As creatives, perhaps it’s best – and arguably necessary – to on occasion take down the shield of prejudicial cynicism and allow ourselves to become immersed in the humanity of an event – any event. It’s analogous to trying out your client’s products, and running focus groups, as it allows us to better understand the people we’re trying to reach. Also, though I too am now over 40, I’m still getting lots of wedding invites – even the occasional best man request, despite my aversion to the Macarena, the Chicken Dance and the Electric Slide Boogaloo 😉


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