Markle and Sparkle

From chicken buckets to loo rolls, how companies truly engaged with the Royal Wedding

I’ll admit it. I love a good wedding. And if it’s a royal affair, well that’s the icing on the wedding cake! Throw in a Prince, his glamorous bride and a castle backdrop, and you have the stuff of fairy tales.

But you can be sure the loudest squeals of excitement at the prospect of a royal wedding come from the PR, marketing and advertising brains of the consumer world. Ever since Meghan said ‘yes’ to Harry’s proposal, they’ve undoubtedly been racking their brains for wedding-related ways to leap onto the marriage bandwagon and promote their products.

Combining both dogs and a royal wedding is a surefire way to our hearts, which is why one of my fur-avourites was from fellow Kirkby Lonsdale-based business, Barking Mad. A gentle giant Newfoundland dog, officially named after Prince Harry by his royalist owners, married his very own Meghan in a special doggy wedding ceremony.

Another of my favourites was Marks and Spencer changing the name of its Windsor branch to Markle and Sparkle for that one weekend. The store also had its recently married cartoon characters Percy and Penny Pig cut a ceremonial ribbon.

Sharry Cramond, marketing director of food and hospitality at M&S said: ‘As a quintessentially British brand we had to do something special to mark the royal wedding, and what better way to welcome Meghan to the family than to ‘marry’ both our names together for the weekend. As a retailer, we’ve celebrated 34 royal weddings over our 134-year history, but this is the boldest idea we’ve delivered yet.’

Another stunt that caught my eye was a tasty idea from Heck sausages to create a limited-edition pork sausage inspired by Harry and Meghan – sweet ginger and American. Presented in a regal sleeve embellished with a crown and entwined wedding rings, the sausages were available for just three weeks in May. A great way of joining in with the celebratory mood while testing a new flavour.

As THE proposal took place amid the aroma of a roasting chicken, KFC cooked up a clucking brilliant stunt. Their Windsor restaurant swapped the usual red and white chicken buckets for gold ones on the big day, featuring the British and American flags enclosed in a heart.

For those who like something a tad more regal than a cardboard bucket, KFC also came up with some special edition buckets made from fine English bone china. Because, (in their words) much like Harry and Meghan, the campaign is “a marriage of English tradition and an American favourite”.

I love a good pun and fully expected many brands to jump on the possibilities offered by the word ‘heir’.  Friction Free Shaving, the women’s shaving subscription company, didn’t let me down. They offered pre-shave scrub, shave cream and post-shave balm in celebration of the Royal Wedding with the tag line: “Tame your heir”.

Sodastream came up with a sparkling PR idea. They auctioned off 50 limited-edition Royal Wedding bottles, each topped with a hat inspired by the Royal Family. All proceeds from the auction went to the Surfers Against Sewage charity.

It seemed absolutely no area of consumerism escaped. Couples sharing their wedding day with Harry and Meghan were invited to register to ‘Feel the New Wave of Clean’ to win a year’s worth of textured toilet tissue and flushable wipes to last through their first (paper) anniversary.

On the day itself, perhaps it all got too much for you – maybe you overdosed on celebratory prosecco? Too much cake? Well, whatever prompted your queasiness, you could always grab a Royal Wedding sick bag (they even had a genius tagline: A new Duke to make you puke!)

These stunts are perfect examples of piggybacking onto huge news events and securing column inches at the same time.

Did your business miss the chance this time? Fear not, it’s only around 25 years or so until the next BIG Royal Wedding. And, mark my words, someone somewhere is already dreaming up some pun-tastic campaigns for George, Charlotte and Louis…

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