Royal wedding bells sound good to magazines

Two publishers of high-end titles reveal how they and their brands will be celebrating and promoting the royal event of this year.

STEPHEN QUINN. publishing director, Vogue

What have you done editorially to mark the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton?

Alexandra Shulman, the editor of Vogue, has chosen three top models - Freja Beha Erichsen, Lara Stone and Natalia Vodianova, shot by Mario Testino - to capture the spirit of the royal wedding with a trio of bridal covers. It is the first time we have produced three individual covers, and we think it will have impact at newsstands. The magazine contains exclusive highlights from 95 years of royal wedding coverage, as well as a portfolio of white fashion and an amazing Testino shoot that involved a mammoth cast to make up his bridal cortege. Alongside the beautiful brides, he photographed 17 officers from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, 28 firefighters from the London Fire Brigade, 18 Sea Cadets, 28 British Airways pilots and cabin crew, 12 pearly kings and queens, and 17 members of the Household Cavalry in Windsor.

What have you done in order to attract new or different advertisers and how have they responded?

The May issue closed on 152 ad pages, showing a growth of 40 pages. We made our clients aware of the wedding content but we did not feel that a hard sell was either appropriate or necessary.

What is in it for readers?

Readers of Vogue are royal wedding watchers like almost everyone else in the world - a romantic bunch at heart. When Catherine Middleton and Prince William announced that they were finally to marry, it captured everyone's imagination and it would have seemed strange not to reference it in a May wedding month. The issue features a romantic "White Mischief" fashion shoot, shot in Namibia by Tim Walker. With prowling cheetahs, the model Agyness Deyn and desert rooms full of sand, it is Tim at his finest, mixing the romantic with the surreal. There is also an extraordinary shoot around the subject of wedding anniversaries by Kate Phelan, Tim Gutt and Shona Heath. Did you know that paper is an appropriate gift for the first anniversary, and furniture for the 17th?

Do you think the royal couple will have enduring popularity with the high-end magazines? And, if so, why?

Prince William and Catherine Middleton are a handsome couple and they will play a significant role in the life of the country. They are very much part of the upmarket glossy narrative and Catherine's ability to mix high-street with designer fashion means inevitably members of the British public will be watching her style sense.

Will you personally be celebrating the wedding?

My wife, Kimberly, and our sons, William and Lorcan, will watch the ceremony on television and drink to the young royals on their wedding day.

JEAN CHRISTIE, publishing director, Country Life

What have you done editorially to mark the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton?

The editor, Mark Hedges, and his team have produced a wonderful special edition of Country Life. With 330 pages, it contains a collection of royal wedding features, from a behind-the-scenes look at the uniforms that will be on parade and comment from those who will be wearing them, to wedding dresses through the ages. Friends of Country Life recount their memories of wearing tiaras, while recent brides who have graced our famous Frontispiece page speak about their honeymoons. And, of course, being Country Life, there are houses fit for a king. The royal family are avid readers, so I'm sure they will enjoy it too.

What have you done in order to attract new or different advertisers and how have they responded?

Country Life is such an iconic and recognisable luxury brand that word-of-mouth and reputation play a big part in attracting advertisers. Country Life celebrates all that is British, and many want to be a part of that. They appreciate the excellent editorial, stunning production values and the quality of response that comes from a Country Life reader. As a result, the royal wedding issue has more than 200 pages of luxury ads from high-end property through to arts, antiques and brand campaigns. It is a collectors' special and the print run has been increased, so it is great value for advertisers. We have a very close relationship with lots of our regular advertisers and they wanted to be part of this special occasion too.

What is in it for readers?

Whether they already live in the country or are successful City professionals who aspire to move to the country, Country Life readers are extremely high-earning, stylish and discerning, and they expect the very best from our magazine every week. This royal wedding issue provides nothing less - beautiful photography, exclusive behind-the-scenes features and the finest editorial from Country Life's writers and columnists. Combined with a stunning, embossed cover, this issue will be kept and referred to for a very long time.

Do you think the royal couple will have enduring popularity with the high-end magazines? And, if so, why?

It's evident that Prince William and Catherine Middleton are a couple who have a traditional role, yet it's with a contemporary outlook and, of course, an obvious affinity with a country lifestyle. It's those qualities that will engage Country Life's consumers for years to come - just as William's grandparents have since they appeared in a Country Life royal wedding special that cost three shillings - a bit less than today's coverprice! As a couple, they reflect Country Life's ethos for the 21st century: tradition and aspiration, paired with accessibility and approachability.

Will you personally be celebrating the wedding?

Of course! English village life is made for such events. There will be an exhibition of vintage wedding dresses and jewellery in the church, followed by a Champagne brunch in the pub. Adults, children, dogs and even horses will all be there.

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