Royal Wedding fever is heating up, and not just in the UK. Expect the hype over the Super Bowl of weddings to intensify right on up to and through the actual ceremony uniting Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29. The question for all sorts of brands is whether the nuptials will bring with them a cascade of benefits at retail.
Some in the UK are hoping that the glamorous gala will prove an economic Super Bowl for the whole country, helping to jolt Britain out of its doldrums.
Already media darlings, the paparazzi trail the couple's every move. Today's stop: St. Andrew's in Scotland, where they met as students and fell in love, to commemmorate the university's 600th anniversary.
Legions of brands are investing heavily in the possibilities as their nuptials loom, ranging from QVC, which sold a replica of Kate (and, previously, Diana’s) engagement ring, to Tesco, which peddled a copy of the blue Issa dress with which the bride-to-be made a global splash at her engagement announcement in November. (As a growing style icon, Middleton's impact on popular fashion is being dubbed "The Kate Effect.")
Travel-related brands in the UK are a natural beneficiary. London's Hyatt Regency is seeing foreigners snap up its "Royal Connections" William-and-Kate-themed package, while TUI, the German tour operator, is seeing massive sign-ups for a London walking tour based on the couple’s haunts.
Media brands are also having a field day as they ramp up their royal watching. TLC, the Discovery-owned US lifestyle network, is one US brand that has been making hay already off of the upcoming wedding, with one royals-related special after another. It’s the kind of reality show that can’t miss.
There are competing claims by those who believe the nation’s costs for traffic control and other wedding contingencies are a bad investment at a time of British national austerity – and those who believe the feel-good event will provide a needed dose of optimism that will redound to the economy.
And, of course, there are the anti-royalists who always hope the Windsors would just go away. Those folks might want to go on vacation until, say, 2012.