Monday, 14 September 2015

"I have been memorising this room..."

One aspect of marketing of durables that I find fascinating is the process via which ownership develops. For consumables, ownership is brief. But if I buy a car, a house, a sofa, there's an initial period in which, even though I've paid for whatever it is, it doesn't really feel as if it's mine. Until I've lived with it for a while - until it has gathered personal meaning and accumulated memories. And then, years later, when the thing is as far from shiny new as you can get, it's almost impossible to throw it away, precisely because of those memories that it has accumulated along with the dust.

The clip from Queen Christina, apart from one of the most classy interpretations of a one-night stand in a dodgy inn that's ever been shot, brings the point home. Garbo, or Christina, knows she will never be in that room again, so she tries to commit every aspect of it to memory, through touch, sight and smell.

Maybe these days the dodgy inn could offer a similar service to this lovely idea from Minnesota-based Faribault Woollen Mill and their agency, Fallon. To add value to their woollen blankets, which are often passed on as family heirlooms, The Memory Mill can collect memories-yet-to-be made. Through the ID number on the blanket's metal tag, the new owner can access, for example, a letter that their gift-giving relative wrote years ago.

What I like about this idea is the combination of the real and digital world and the long-term thinking involved. And in these days where we're going to be owning less, and paying more by the minute or hour (Car Sharing, for example), it's a great way for a maker of durable goods to remind us of the joy of ownership - of the object and the memories associated with it.


Barbara Fisher said...

There is some clever thinking behind the ‘memories that are yet to be made’ advert. You are so right when you say objects are just that until we incorporate them into our memories, and then they become something else entirely. I have ornaments that my son gave me when he was a little boy, they are worn and knocked around, but I would never part with them.

Sue Imgrund said...

... and of course, books are rich with memory associations. As much as I find my Kindle practical, I don't get the same experience reading a well-loved childhood book on my Kindle as I would with the treasured, scribbled on, pages falling out personal copy.