Thursday 30 November 2017

Past Forward

Sometime in the 1970s, inspired by Blue Peter, I buried a time capsule in the woods at the back of our garden. Well, time capsule is a bit grand: it was a biscuit tin filled with various ephemera - a newspaper, probably, a paperback book, sweet wrappers, that sort of thing.

The only problem is that 40-plus years later, I have no idea where I buried it.

One criticism of much marketing activity is that it's terribly short-term. Even for durables and long-term services, the emphasis in today's digital world is on the now and the present and the instant. OK, there are the occasional exceptions. Ads for watches that you're just keeping 'for the next generation.' Or the promise of your own share of a barrel of whisky to enjoy in a decade or two. We've got a couple of rather nice bottles of red wine, vintage 2000, sitting in the cellar to enjoy when the boy turns 18 - not too long to wait now.

I've written a post here about taking your time, which mentions the Long Now Foundation (Founded in 01996 to foster long-term thinking and responsibility.) And here's another smart piece of thinking from Remy Martin and their agency to promote their Louis XIII cognac, which takes 100 years to make.

Two years ago, they kicked off the 100 Years campaign by producing a film starring John Malkovich which would first be released in 2115. (They are lucky they chose Mr Malkovich and not Kevin Spacey, but no doubt there will be other worries by 2115.)

And now they have teamed up with Pharrell Williams to create a music track that won't be released for 100 years. And this time there is a 'planet positive' message built-in: the disc has been pressed on unique clay vinyl (using soil from the vineyard - whatever next!) and will be stored in a water-vulnerable safe. So if we mess up, and water levels rise, our descendants won't get to hear it in November 2117.

Of course, people in 2117 may be wondering who on earth Pharrell Williams was, but still.

Now, some people may argue that it's a bit pointless spending so much on and making such a song and dance (and film) about a product few can afford. (A bottle of Louis XIII costs over £2,000.)

But advertising Concorde never did British Airways any harm.


Barbara said...

That could be an exciting find for someone one day!
Back in 1987 I entered a competition run by Sun Life of Canada. Instead of writing a slogan entrants were asked to suggest items for a time capsule. I won a cheque for £25 and an invitation to attend the 'Burial Ceremony' on Friday 12th June, 1987. My suggestion was a mail-order catalogue which felt like a good idea at the time, but I’m not sure how well it will survive.

Sue Imgrund said...

That's a brilliant idea, with all those wonderful 80s fashions. Do you remember how long they wanted to bury it for? And does Sun Life still exist, come to think of it - most of these insurance companies have had multiple re-structurings and takeovers. Maybe Remy Martin will have been banned and outlawed as detrimental to health by 2117 :)

Barbara said...

Hello Sue, gosh you got me thinking then! Luckily, I mentioned it on my blog in 2013 so I was able to go back and look at it. It is due to be exhumed (dug up) in 2087. I won’t be around to see it, but my grandchildren might be. Kip lives in Basingstoke so if he is still there he might see something about it.

I wasn’t sure about Sun Life but having just looked online they are still in the same building in Basingstoke but these days they call themselves Sun Life Financial of Canada!

There is a photo of the time capsule on my blog here

Sue Imgrund said...

Thanks for the link to the picture. By a very strange and spooky co-incidence I have just read 'The Return of the Soldier'!