Viewers and marketers make like Cupid for TV wedding

What can only be termed a consumer-generated wedding has been in the works since August, when ET Canada invited viewers to nominate engaged couples and then vote on key elements of the nuptials.

Tiny Tim’s wedding with Miss Vicki on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1969 was nothing like this. In what’s probably the world’s first consumer-generated wedding, Entertainment Tonight Canada has been playing yenta since mid-August – and getting viewers and marketers in on the action.

The ETC‘s Nov. 16 ‘Dream Wedding’ ceremony will be preceded by run-up snippets of the preparations, plus recaps of what led to the event during each broadcast this week. And there’s a lot to talk about, beginning with the Aug. 13 invitation to viewers to begin nominating themselves or others for the real-life roles of bride and groom by submitting photo and/or video essays.

What was originally on offer was an all-expenses-paid wedding on a sandy beach somewhere, courtesy of Sunquest Vacations and Sandals Resort and Spa – with viewers ultimately choosing Antigua. But after the lucky Montreal couple was chosen – and surprised on camera at their workplaces with the news – things got even more interesting.

In mid-October, the bride- and groom-to-be were again ambushed for an on-air segment announcing that jewelry artist Mark Lash had designed three sets of wedding bands (vintage, traditional and modern), and that viewers would be voting on which set would be exchanged at the ceremony.

A week later, it was announced that haberdasher Harry Rosen would be providing the groom’s $1,500 Hugo Boss suit – after audience members voted on four they watched him try on. Then the bride got the same treatment thanks to couturier Mirella Recine, of Bella Di Sera – only this time, viewers got to choose which of six $3,500 gowns should make the cut. After which Sunquest kicked in one more gift: matching luggage for the wedding trip. Altogether, the value of the prizing adds up to $60,000.

As a final kicker, a mystery celebrity (flown to and accommodated in Antigua by the show and key sponsors) will serenade the happy couple at their wedding this Friday, while ETC‘s cameras capture every moment.

With all content developed in-house at CanWest MediaWorks, the Dream Wedding has been promoted nationally in spots on Global channels, driving viewers to the website. As well, Sunquest has been running ads in its print brochures.

‘The Dream Wedding illustrates the real power of seamless content integration with ET Canada,’ Catherine Bridgman, SVP marketing ventures at CanWest MediaWorks, tells MiC. ‘With the Sandals Resort as the perfect backdrop, we were able to effectively weave Sunquest – a natural fit as the lead sponsor for this campaign – as well as secondary partners into the storyline to create this successful interactive consumer promotion.’

Adds Sunquest’s marketing SVP, Susan Bowman: ‘We are pleased with the robust response from viewers and look forward to partnering with CanWest MediaWorks on more creative endeavours.’

ET Canada‘s Dream Wedding segments may be viewed at: