The one we’ll all remember… a right royal feast for brands

Above the Fold

1st June 2018

We waited with bated breath to see the dress, we laughed at the senior royals’ expressions during Reverend Curry’s sermon, and we (maybe) shed a little tear during the exchanging of vows.

The royal wedding was certainly a celebration to remember, not only down to the grandiose display of pomp and pageantry, but also because of the vast number of brands capitalising on the British public’s hunger for news about Harry and Meghan’s nuptials.

In the weeks (and even months) leading up to 19 May, brands with an affinity for the happy couple jumped on to the media appetite for news about Harry and Megs—tying the wedding in with their products any which way they could.

Some hit the spot. Some missed the mark completely. Here’s who gets our crown for the best and worst royal wedding brand activations.

BEST

It has to be a tie between two brand activations here: the Pimm’s Wedding Dash and M&S come out on top for us

Pimm’s Wedding Dash

To celebrate its new wedding-themed cocktail, Pimm’s offered forty brides and grooms (dressed in full wedding attire) the chance to win a wedding directory package from Rock My Wedding—worth £8,000.

The one-kilometre obstacle course saw couples racing past iconic London landmarks including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Westminster Bridge, before crossing the finishing line at Battersea Park.

Why it worked

This stunt was all about timing and imagery. Hitting papers on 8 May (the week before Royal Wedding passion hit fever pitch), Pimm’s faced less competition than brands vying for column inches the week before the big day.

The images captured were fun and impactful; the sight of 20 brides, dresses hitched up, sprinting in front of London landmarks, was spot on in the weeks before London played host to the wedding of the year.

Everything M&S

To be expected from such British retail royalty, M&S hit the spot with not one but three royal wedding activations. Percy and Penny Pig finally tied the knot, its roast chicken sandwich was renamed to ‘The Proposal’, and the supermarket was temporarily renamed to ‘Markle & Sparkle’.

M&S has been hitting the headlines recently with speculation about the future of the company—with plans to close 100 stores by 2022. The royal wedding offered the company some welcome respite from negative press.

As much a British institution as the royal family, it remains to be seen whether its royal wedding activations got more shoppers through the door, but it certainly generated a load of coverage and buzz on social media.

Why it worked

The “iconic animal baked goods wedding” is a format M&S certainly knows works well—having previously wed Connie and Colin the Caterpillar. To commemorate Penny and Percy’s marriage, M&S released special edition packs of the gummy pigs dressed in wedding attire and combined with strawberry-flavoured hearts.

The food theme continued with the renaming of the roast chicken sandwich. Here was a tangible link to the royal wedding proposal. It was a little cringe-worthy, yes, but it was relevant and got a chortle from people.

The pinnacle had to be the rename—in particular the renaming of the flagship store in Windsor. Royal wedding fever was building within the town, and M&S had the perfect opportunity to capitalise on the public’s interest.

WORST

Super Dickmann

What happens when you’re so far from hitting the mark you can’t even see it in the distance?

Super Dickmann posted a cartoon image of a Schokokuss (a marshmallow sweet) dressed as a bride on its Facebook page.

The German sweet brand had to apologise after a huge backlash from followers on social media, who pointed out the racial undertones of the post.

Why it didn’t work

We’re just going to leave this here…