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.

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