David and Victoria Beckham were married in 1999, and since then have used their names to sell everything from pants to whisky. Now, in our Instagram age, their influence is everywhere
Victoria Beckham never claimed to be the best singer in the Spice Girls, or the best dancer either. Nor was David Beckham necessarily the greatest footballer ever to wear a Manchester United shirt. The teams former manager Alex Ferguson once said he had only ever worked with four world-class players, and didnt include Beckham on his list.
Yet, by dint of hard work, strategic decision-making and a remarkable ability to stay likable even while becoming preposterously rich, the Beckhams have achieved the goal Victoria identified back in 2001, when she wrote of wanting to be as famous as Persil Automatic. They have evolved beyond mere celebrities into a fully fledged brand, a household name as familiar and comforting as your daily breakfast cereal or family car. What they seem to have understood is that fame comes and goes, but brands have the power to get inside your head.
In July, it will be 20 years since Victoria Adams married David Beckham in a ceremony that OK! magazine paid an undisclosed sum to cover. They had met in 1997 at a charity football match, although each already had their eye on the other. (As David noted in his autobiography: My wife picked me out of a soccer sticker book. And I chose her off the telly.) Within two years they had got engaged, had their first son, Brooklyn, and married; it was shortly after the wedding that the red tops coined the phrase Brand Beckham, describing the way each boosted the others already significant pulling power.