Magazine article Marketing

Danger in a Past Obsession

Magazine article Marketing

Danger in a Past Obsession

Article excerpt

Look Back in Anger? Not any more. We're all looking back with longing for the past. The Darling Buds of May and The Camomile Lawn are two of the latest TV blockbusters taking us back.

Mini-skirts are back in fashion along with the Mini Cooper. The Bardot look is back; the Monroe/Madonnal/Blondie look has never been away. Good grief, even Josef Locke has made a comeback. Endless TV commercials are using old pop tunes or Bogart lookalikes. "Gold" radio channels are booming. The CD charts are dominated by late middle-aged rockstars. Mick Jagger is older than John Major. Keith Richards looks older than George Burns.

The marketing profession is shrewdly tuning into this social phenomenon. The past is controllable, warm and unthreatening. A safe cosy environment in which to sell, sell, sell anything from pensions to ecologically-sound soap suds. Alan Bennett says "the only time you're really happy is when you're looking back."

Well pardon my Scott Walker hipsters, but isn't something very wrong here? Shouldn't we be excited about the future, nor the past? Isn't there something sick about a society that want to suck its thumb and regress back to the womb? The heritage movement is protecting old buildings and artefacts and is very commendable, but its great prominence in society today is yet more evidence of this regression. The same is true of some aspects of environmentalism. Of course we must preserve the balance of nature and protect the rain forests. …

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