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Can Prince William and Kate escape to a brand-free universe?

It looks a bit unlikely given the phenomenal global interest in the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton (or Catherine as Buckingham Palace insists on calling her).

Two billion people worldwide allegedly watched the Royal Wedding in London’s Westminster Abbey, although quite how anybody knows these things so soon is a mystery. Anyway, the answer is quite a lot.

And it was all very nice, the Middleton girls looking great in their Sarah Burton dresses and there was scarcely a dry eye in the house as the hymn Jerusalem soared through the abbey.

Poet William Blake who wrote the words back in 1808 (Sir Hubert Parry’s music came 100-odd years later) would have been turning in his grave in London’s Bunhill Fields had he known that his paen to pre-industrial England was being used to celebrate a Royal wedding. Blake was not a fan of royalty, especially the incumbent George lll who was the Hanoverian idiot who lost the American colonies.

Anyway, there we are and the William and Kate phenomenon will be with us for some time.

So which commercial rascals did the best out of it?

The UK’s T-Mobile takes the prize with this Chris Palmer-directed opus for agency Saatchi & Saatchi. Take a look at the last bit, is that really a Prince Harry lookalike or him? Surely it is the roguish Prince Harry?

Just brilliant, Camilla actually looked like that at the wedding and Kate wasn’t far off either.

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And Wieden+Kennedy London enlivened its Shoreditch window with a trendy installation enabling local passers-by to have their picture taken with a crown on their heads and get a postcard.

Very clever and very W+K. The inspiration apparently was that W+K=William+Kate. Now we’re all supposed to call her Catherine (not Katherine you’ll note, that would too like Katherine of Aragon who was divorced by Henry Vlll, more like Catherine Howard who was beheaded on Henry’s orders and Catherine Parr who outlived the tyrannical monarch) does this mean that W+K might rename itself?

Somehow W+C doesn’t have the same ring.

William and Kate/Catherine are destined to be pursued for years by paparazzi photographers who will sell their photos to newspapers who will strenuously deny trying to invade anyone’s privacy. And brands all over the world will jump on their celebrity, mostly when they can’t think of a better idea.

Will it be Charles and Diana all over again? Let’s hope not.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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