Boxing Day, Decade, Century?

Around this time of year, I like to get nostalgic and have a look at advertising and brand communications from days gone by. Now, forgive me if I get lazy for once, but I have found a fascinating write-up of some Christmas ads all the way from the 1980s by Mike Oughton, Creative Director of McCann, in Campaign.

Have a look – you can marvel and revel in the pre-digital masterpieces of Oxo, IBM and Coca-Cola. It was a different world. But the one that makes me most nostalgic, maybe because the brand has disappeared from the UK High Street, is Woolworth’s. ‘The Spectacular Woolworth’s Christmas Show’ to be exact. It’s got everything – celebrities, sports stars, technology – and tapes. Piles and piles of them.

Tapes aside, I’m quite amazed at how much technology (if you can call it that) was on offer at Woolworth’s at the time. And just how much is crammed into the ad – apart from the celebrities, there are brands upon brands, and prices, and music, all-singing, all-dancing.

Now compare that with the Amazon ad above. I think it’s a great piece of branding and definitely watchable, but there’s also something slightly sinister about it. It’s all about the boxes, and the Amazon logo, and whatever is inside those boxes doesn’t get a look in. It’s certainly single-minded.

Contagious, in their report on the coming trends, talk about ‘Amazonification’ and describe Jeff Bezos as ‘The Man in the Cardboard Castle’ – a reference to world domination if ever there was one. Where will Amazon go next? Banking? Pharma? Who knows?

Bots, boxes and Mr Bezos – the future belongs to you?

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