SAINTS PRESERVE US
Sussex Royal Pain
Through the course of three novels my various characters (or paper-thin cut-outs should you dislike my work) may have been furious, irate or angry but none of them ever “saw red” or got “mad as hell.” Clichés though true must be avoided. At any and all costs. At the end of the day, it’s a trying chore to look at something from 30,000 feet, especially an existential threat.
My style is dense. Though I derive a charge, a buzz, packing as much information into a compound sentence as I can, a fleeting instant of time, “now,” would never be typed as a “juncture of maturation.” Sometimes an elevator is just that, not a compartmentalized vertical personnel hoisting device.
Politics and commerce are particularly fecal, fetid and fertile sources of gibberish and jargon. If you’ve ever uttered the phrases “boots on the ground” or “mission creep,” you’d better have been under fire whilst clad in camouflage. I’m a retired ad man. As such, I feel particularly possessive - possibly pedantic, about my industry’s idiotic nouns and verbs because so many have bled into the common lexicon. So, do not spin mangled, marketing malarkey to me about your personal brand. Unless you’re a cattle rancher, it does not exist.
The post-modern wasteland is littered with vacuous souls who mistook their ironic Warholian 15 minutes of tabloid fame as affirmations of personal branding. Greetings to the cast of Jersey Shore, Tila Tequila, Paris Hilton and her crude, gossipy fan-boy Perez Hilton: all you exhibited were some alarming personal peccadilloes and characteristics.
Consider now the unraveling of the noble House of Windsor, a smooth segue. I admire Queen Elizabeth II because if I woke up each morning as a matriarch contemplating the condition of my England and my family, I’d commence the day with a few hefty snifters of brandy and a speedball. Canadian parliamentary democracy demands that I respect Her Majesty as my country’s head of state. Fair enough. Now, about the trouble with Harry and Meghan…
In these modern times a cur gets carte blanche as an emotional support animal and people apparently earn income as life coaches, activists and social media influencers. And so, what to do with a pair of accidental celebrities who have nothing to offer the world except perhaps some tittering, value-added Park Avenue cocktail soiree chatter?
“I remember a particular evening at the palace rather well. Mummy was nattering on about colonics or land mines, some such nonsense. Grandpapa made a witticism about slitty-eyed foreigners and spurting spotted dick, as was his wont. The Duke of York, Uncle Andrew, was attempting to grope the Swedish au pair when he stepped on one of Her Highness’s corgi dogs. I say, both bitches howled. Oh, how we laughed. I must express to you, rather confidentially, that Grandmama was not amused.”
P.G. Wodehouse meets the Davos set. Being crowned king is one hell of a long shot even utilizing a trained sniper, and so why shouldn’t the minor royals transform their union into a brand and act as its mascots just as Martha Stewart, Oprah and that odious vulgarian who holds the highest executive office in the United States have done? The recently unveiled Sussex Royal brand is to date devoid of equity, that ethereal, emotional tug that attracts and keeps customers engaged and spending. At this juncture of maturation, the only viable metric available to quantify the value of brand Sussex Royal is a complete accounting of expenses incurred up to its soft launch. The ad executives, the designers, the copywriters, the web coders, the flacks and lawyers all must be paid.
Harry and Meghan have yet to demonstrate any discernable business acumen. My scorn for their instant brand is tempered somewhat by my amusement at their wide-eyed optimism for its prospects. According to reports the Sussex Royal mark is available to be applied to a plethora of products and services. Contrarily, an established, successful brand tends to reside in a particular category. Categories can be broad, “lifestyle” or “finance” maybe, but rarely scattershot. A distiller will not try to sell you a car.
Their business plan has already encountered hitches in the form of frivolous trademark infringement legal filings. I’m reminded somewhat of the sleazy, opportunistic rush to register internet domain names at the height of the dot-com boom. Not only does Harry’s and Meghan’s Sussex Royal brand have no cachet, they may not even own its rights. These poor disadvantaged and disenfranchised kids, already exiled to the wilds of the Dominion of Canada, just can’t seem to catch a break.