Back in the last century, working at Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the highlights of a visit to my clients at Harvey's of Bristol was a visit to the Harvey's Wine Museum. Located in dockyard cellars, the museum had a slightly raffish air, a teeny bit disreputable car boot sale of a place with its dusty decanters and blowsy barrels. The highlight was a drawing of the historic occasion in the 19th century during which a lady sherry-tasting proclaimed 'if that be the milk, then this is the cream.'
I'm not sure if the museum still exists, but brand museums are now all the rage. Not just museums of packaging and print ads and other ephemera, but museums or even theme parks dedicated to one particular brand.
There's the McDonalds No. 1 Store Museum (housed in a replica of the first restaurant opened by Ray Kroc in Des Plaines), the Willy Wonka-esque Cadbury World, the nostalgic Colman's Mustard Museum and Shop in Norwich, the Levis Strauss Museum in the home of his birth in Buttenheim. And almost every brand has a virtual museum of sorts on their website these days.
Whether it's food, drink, fashion or cars, all these brands have a story or two to tell, and enough belief in their meaning to the general public out there. Maybe the idea of a museum ties in well with the increasing fashionability of Brand Curators.
One brand museum due to open in 2016 will be the IKEA Museum, in the first IKEA store which is being restored to its 1950s glory. And there's a chance to participate here, with your own stories of BILLY and KLIPPAN.
Maybe this is the ultimate test for Marketing Directors - or Brand Curators - does my brand have enough magic, meaning and affection to warrant a museum?