Posted by: @spdlm | 02 May 11

Marketing – Learning from the masters 2 (The Royal Wedding)

I wrote a blog with the same title a few months ago. This is a continuation of that post, to express my congratulations and sense of awe after watching the recent Royal Wedding.

Congratulations, HRHs

 The Royal Wedding

I don’t follow celebrity gossips or most of the rubbish aired by the so called news channels but when there was nothing else on the TV, I began to realise that this is quite a big event on a global scale. I can imagine this event being important for most residents in the UK but when the live coverage started, our phones were off the hook constantly due to calls from friends and relatives wanting to share this moment both visually and vocally with us. I too found the newly weds handsome and beautiful. The siblings equally handsome. What really struck me when watching this procession was, however, the skill and the planning that went behind the scenes to make this one of the most symbolic and perfect live coverage of an event as far as I can remember, in any field.

The Britishness

This is a word I notice very often these days. Even I mentioned it on my last blog. There was nothing un-British in the whole live-coverage of the wedding. It even seemed like the organisers controlled the weather to make it perfectly British – not too warm, occasional sunshine through the thick clouds. It was not about the amount of the Union Jacks, although there were quite a few. It was, to me, the lack of lavish decorations that you might see in other high-profile weddings, that made the whole event very British. The entrance to the Abbey was very symbolic to me as there was not even a single bouquet of flower by the Abbey doors. The cars were very shiny and special, but no flags, insignias or any unnecessary statements. What mattered was the passengers.

Complete Triumph

I saw the whole event on BBC, live. Even the cynical, hard-nosed person like me felt quite proud of calling UK “home”. It was that good. From a professional point of view, I really couldn’t find anything to fault. As far as I could see, everything was synchronised perfectly. As I mentioned, above, friends and family from far away were calling us to “discuss” the event as it happened. This meant that we knew when the other broadcasters, especially abroad, cut-out for advertisements. How do you break-up a wedding ceremonies for advertisements? The hymns and non-royal-couple processions etc were used as commercial breaks, which means every second was planned and synchronised across dozens of live broadcasters. I am sure there were minor mishaps but I saw none on TV. Perfect smiles, horses and kisses.  The last time I was amazed to the similar level by a live broadcast was the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

The Perfect Campaign

I am quite sure that every spin-doctors and government’s PR agents in every developed nations are thinking the same thing. How on earth do you execute a stunt like that! How do you fill out most of major open spaces in London full of people all in support of their own monarchy? How do you orchestrate such a flawless event? The perfect message not only to the Britons but the whole world, what a wonderful, traditional, classy place United Kingdom is. Who would not have dreamed of being Kate or indeed William? Britain, much like the US, walks a fine line most of the time in terms of global politics. The wedding was touted as the perfect event to lift the spirits of not only the Britons but many others around the world and it lived up to expectations. To me, that live broadcast did much more than any propaganda, political spins, speeches and victories.

The Lessons

What I learned, or re-learned, from that live broadcast was the importance of the message, and the effectiveness of subtleness. The message was conveyed very elegantly, about the tradition, uniqueness, the idyllic way of life and the awesome power the Monarchy enjoys. Nobody spoke a word directly at the camera and yet these messages were very clear. In order to convey such a clear message, nothing was left to chance and required tremendous amount of planning and practice. It is much like Apple’s marketing campaign. There isn’t one loud slogan that is repeated like Nike or Sony. By using an Apple product, your life somehow becomes wonderful. By visiting UK, you too can enjoy the Britishness these Royals enjoy, or by doing Business with a UK company, you will be treated with traditional and impeccable manners. Unlike the US, Britishness does not come from overwhelming amount of flags but carefully selected items, settings, colours and even sounds. So, when you are designing your ad campaign or your website, take a step back and look at it from corner to corner. A very minor change in colour, position, size or the words could make a very different impact. The downside of these approach is the time it would require to convey the message because it could be subtle. It would also be very difficult to change this message because it is not clearly stated. The visual message is very powerful. If you have a wonderful product, try not to describe it in so many words but try to put it on display, tastefully.


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