Once upon a time there was a beautiful brunette commoner who went to St. Andrew’s University and caught the eye of a prince. After a long courtship the prince finally proposed to the beautiful commoner and the wedding preparation commenced. It’s a story little girls dream of their whole lives, and for the public relations practitioner, it has become a story that can be used to their advantage.
A royal wedding is always an event to capture the public’s eye, but this wedding has done so even more than in the past. The last royal wedding happened in July of 1981. There were no iPhone apps, no Internet, no DVRs and even VCRs were relatively new. To watch The Royal Wedding of 1981, everyone had to wake up early in the morning to view it. Thirty years later, we can DVR it or even watch it live on the YouTube channel—no T.V. required.
Television was the primary medium for the commoners who wanted to follow the details of Charles and Diana’s Royal Wedding. Today, we have many media channels to follow the story of William and Kate. The official website of the Royal Wedding is complete with a videos from the Royal Channel on YouTube, social media feeds and a blog of recent news. In the iPhone app store there are nearly 60 apps pertaining to the Royal Wedding. If Charles and Diana felt that they were very much in the public eye, William and Kate must feel that their lives are completely transparent.
Like all media today, an integral part of The Royal Wedding is consumer interactivity. No longer is media just television coverage. The Royal Wedding YouTube channel invites us to upload video messages to Kate and William and to sign the digital guestbook. In addition to traditional media buzz around the day, like TLC’s Royal Wedding Week and the Lifetime movie William and Kate, many brands have also taken advantage of The Royal Wedding.
Within a day of the engagement announcement, UK’s The Guardian published an article titled, “The royal wedding PR goldrush,” that discusses how PR folks were already using The Royal Wedding to create excitement. Sealy created a special Crown Jewel bed, VisitBritain created a royal wedding itinerary and everything Kate wears sells out. Positioning items and services around an event as prominent as The Royal Wedding automatically gives the PR professional’s client newsworthiness.
Something about a royal wedding captures our attention and gives us the desire to want to be a part of the big day. With the products that have been positioned around the wedding and the interactivity that technology allows today, even the most common of commoners can become involved. Just as media is no longer something to be consumed passively, the Royal Wedding is no longer an event to simply be watched. It is amazing what 30 years can change for the monarchy and how easy it is for Americans to become a part of their nuptials.