Friday, May 25, 2012

You Shouldn't Have to Repeat Your Wedding Vows

You Shouldn't Have to Repeat Your Wedding Vows

Erik is out of the office this week, covering the Indianapolis 500. So we are running a column from 2005.

How badly do you have to screw up your wedding vows so you need to do it all over again?

The diamond industry is hoping you did. And that you have to buy another expensive ring while you're at it.

The latest marketing campaign from the diamond industry and is their "I Forever Do" commercials, where a guy asks his wife to marry him all over again. It's not as funny as the Family Guy parody ("She'll Pretty Much Have To"), but it's nearly as entertaining. I've seen two versions: a shorter commercial that most people have seen, and the longer one with more twists and surprise endings. You can find the longer one at the website.

In the commercial, a husband and wife are in London on a family vacation. It's just the two of them, so either they have no children, or they left the kids with her folks. The two frolic around a fountain in front of some steps, where dozens of people are lounging and watching this little scene unfold.

Then, in a fit of spontaneity belying his otherwise staid existence as a tax attorney, the husband -- we'll call him Stan -- says to his wife, Lisa "You know, I think I'd marry you all over again."

"What do you mean, you think?!" Lisa says half-jokingly. "He better do more than just 'think,'" she says to herself.

He ignores her jibe: "We could do it right here. All these people as witnesses."

"Yeah, right." Meanwhile, she's thinking "Is he high? Is he having an affair? Did he steal from his clients?"

Lisa looks out at the crowd of onlookers and voyeurs, and someone very familiar stands up.

"MOM?!" Lisa gasps, wondering who's watching the children.

A man sitting next to her mother is holding a newspaper in front of his face. He lowers it, looking slightly disgusted. Could it be another suitor there to battle his nemesis for Lisa's heart? Could the mother have brought him here because she secretly hates Stan and wants to get rid of him?

"DAD?!" she gasps again. Mystery solved, as is the reason for the man's look: it's a mixture of annoyance that she's marrying this jerk, not once, but twice, plus relief that he doesn't have to pay for it this time.

Meanwhile, Lisa is just relieved to find her mom and dad in Europe together, which has allayed her fears that Dad was having an on-again-off-again fling with a French barmaid.

In the extended commercial, another woman stands up: Stan's lover to battle Lisa for his heart?

"JEN?!" No, it must be Lisa's sister, although the look on her face makes us wonder if she really is Stan's lover as well. Her expression of regret and longing says "That should have been me. Why won't he tell her the truth about us?"

Lisa overcomes her initial reluctance to Stan's idea and turns to find him kneeling before her. She nods an affirmative, much to her father's growing disgust and mother's unstoppable weeping. (Mom just hasn't been the same emotionally since undergoing The Change, and finding out that her husband's "business trips" have actually been to rendezvous with Ingrid the German hotel clerk.)

The rest of the crowd rises to its collective feet and bursts into applause, as the camera zooms out and fades to block. The announcer says, "This time, tell her 'I Forever Do.'" The unsaid message comes through loud and clear: "Because you didn't do it right the first time, you failure-of-a-man!"

Every time my wife and I watch this little morality play, we have to wonder what exactly did Stan do that his vows from just a few short years ago needed a booster. And will it stick this time, or will he have to whisk Lisa off to Prague with her parents, grandparents, and half-cousin Louise? We figure he must have done something pretty bad — like messing around with his sister-in-law, Jen — that requires repeating his vows and buying yet another expensive ring.

Regardless, the diamond industry doesn't seem to be helping the sanctity of marriage, since they're implying that 1) marriage vows aren't necessarily permanent the first time you did them, and 2) the only way to insure your marriage will last -- at least until you're caught with Gertrude the Hungarian concert promoter -- is with another Kobe Bryant "I screwed up again, but THIS time I promise it's the last one," anniversary ring.

Just make sure someone is watching the kids.

My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

My other book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.

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