Published April 30, 2011
What a difference twenty years can make. Not too long ago, it was simply assumed that the British monarchy was on its way out. Prince Charles and his treatment of Diana made his potential kingship unwanted. Besides, the world seemed to be moving on and the idea of a monarchy in a modern democracy was almost embarrassing.
All that changed Friday.
Arguably, the shift began with Diana’s death when the people of the United Kingdom embraced her as their princess.
But the wedding was one of those seminal moments when both doubters and fans alike realize they are witnessing the re-emergence of a powerful brand.
This moment will be remembered as the moment the idea of British monarchy shifted from being something that people passively accepted to something that people actively embraced.
Ceremony has its place. It points to something deeper in human experience. Just as the movie "The King’s Speech" surprised everyone by revealing a general appetite, even an enthusiasm, for noble ideals and sacrifice; the royal wedding reminded Britain (and the world) of a unique institution that is bigger than passing trends and offers stability and strength that can endure and is probably impossible to duplicate. You can’t just whip up something else into existence out of thin air and expect it to have the effect that House of Windsor does.
Ceremony is also story-telling for the masses -- and the British monarch is the official head of the 54-member state Commonwealth.
Loosely speaking, Queen Elizabeth is queen of two billion people or a third of the world’s population.
To tell a story of stability, authority, nobility and even, love, there is probably no better way to do it than with the kind of ceremony that we saw Friday and no one seems to do it as well as the British and the royal family.
Strictly from a marketing perspective, the message couldn’t have been clearer. With the monarchy receiving a whopping 80 percent approval rating from the British people and a fundamentally enthusiastic response from the rest of the world, the House of Windsor isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The fact that William has married a “commoner” is only part of what’s going right here. The “commoner” he married is far from "common." She has mesmerized the world not only with her beauty but her poise and strength in the face of constant scrutiny. The mere fact that royal family has so clearly embraced Kate, the daughter of two former flight attendants, changes the way we see them.
But more than this, watching Harry and William in Westminster Abbey reminded us that we have witnessed these two men, Diana’s sons, grow up into adults that we can really like and can respect as leaders.
Prince Harry with his take-no-prisoners approach to life and his brother William with his cerebral, kind and charming demeanor have become a great team to get the monarchy right back on track—providing duty and service to their country but in the process redefining monarchy for our times. You might call it nobility without the snobbery.
One last point, after viewing the crowds and learning that there were an estimated two billion viewers of the wedding worldwide, anti-monarchists would be hard-pressed to make an economic argument against the crown. The tourist dollars alone would probably dwarf any public expense for the wedding (the bulk of the bill was picked up by the royals and Middletons anyway).
More than this, it is almost impossible to quantify the value of this several-hour long infomercial for Britain and the royal family. If thirty-seconds of the Super Bowl is worth upwards of three million dollars for advertisers and that game “only” attracts 100 million pairs of eyes –what’s the value of thirty seconds of something that grabs thirty times that audience? Excuse the math but that’s $180 million dollars a minute times 180 minutes equals almost thirty-two and a half billion dollars of unforgettable promotional material.
But let’s face it; the royal wedding is about much more than money. It is about people recognizing that they have preserved something of real value in a world where so many things just get thrown away.
And, remember, it’s always better to keep branding in mind.
John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert who markets his own services as The Marketing Doctor. He writes frequently for Fox News Opinion and is author of the book "People Buy Brands, Not Companies."