The museum that goes back to the beginning of brands

The museum that goes back to the beginning of brands
Jul 20

Eamon Allan

Branding has become so pervasive in the modern world. It’s featured on everything from shopping bags to clothing, toys, food, technology, it’s so omnipresent that we mostly don’t give it a second thought. But one fateful day in 1963, 16-year-old Robert Opie had an epiphany that every chocolate wrapper represents a moment that’s worth documenting. He took his Munchies wrapper and an intention never to throw away anything ever again and started what would become the Museum of Brands located in the London suburb of Notting Hill.

*Image source Museum of Brands

The Robert Opie collection

The Museum of Brands takes visitors through more than 120 years of consumerism. Robert Opie’s collection of more than twelve thousand pieces is laid out in a time tunnel that includes all manner of advertising posters, domestic objects, clothing, toys, magazines and newspapers, musical instruments, maps, royal memorabilia, technology, tins and boxes. It’s an impressive collection of all kinds of items from every generation since the Victorians.

*Image source Museum of Brands

Where brands began

Branding started off as quite a practical consideration and developed with our changing world into something else entirely. The first forays into branding were simply to make a container or package that would keep the product inside safe for the consumer. Companies printed their name on the packaging to show the contents were a standard weight and hadn't been tampered with. Soon these companies discovered that every aspect from the logo to the decoration could be used to tell a story that would help them to make their product more appealing to customers. Think about Kellogg’s Cornflakes, it still evokes the wholesome goodness that was built into the brand when it was established in 1895.

*Image source Museum of Brands

The development of branding

Branding has become a force in our world. It’s shaped by us but it also shapes us. The time tunnel at the Museum of Brands reflects the fashions of each period but also the aspirations and stories that developed through time, the advance of technology, the beginning of a culture of convenience, the emancipation of women, and a growing concern for the environment. The museum is currently showcasing an exhibition called Pro Carton, the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard Manufacturers, celebrating environmentally friendly carton-based packaging.

Branding in the modern world

Branding these days is inseparable from our culture. It’s designed to evoke feelings and impulses that go beyond influencing our purchasing choices to representing an attribute or even a lifestyle that we would like to buy into. For example, the Apple brand that incorporates sophistication and coolness and modern thinking. Consumers are not only willing to pay large amounts of money for the latest Apple technology but they will wait in long queues to ensure that they don’t miss out.

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*Image source Museum of Brands

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