November 3, 2017


London, a quintessential cosmopolitan city, is a treasure-trove of museums. At the heart of the city is the famous Notting Hill area and just at the corner of the neighborhood is the Museum of Brands, Packaging, and Advertising. Founded in 1984 by an Englishman named Robert Opi, this museum is a visual bliss for anyone interested in branding and advertising.

The museum houses over 12,000 exhibits starting from the Victorian era to the modern day. It gives us a sneak peek into the way British society lived and shopped during the last 200 years. The major type of items on display are consumer products, electronics, household items, magazines, fashion products, and toys. Every brand displayed has a specimen of the packaging and other branding materials from the launch date till today. This chronological graphic presentation creates a time tunnel effect on the audience. The feeling of walking through museum exhibits that are so close to our everyday life is quite fascinating for many visitors.


However, this is not only about branding and advertising. How a brand communicates with its target audience is also an interesting way to look into the consumer psyche of that era.  It gives researchers and brand enthusiasts a unique opportunity to understand the different aspects of consumer behavior over time. Here one can see Rimmel cosmetics from the 1890s, First World War Oxo Cubes, Mars Bars, Rolos and KitKats from the 1930s, a 1970s Chopper Bike and many other items. A particular item that interested me was seeing the evolution of Pepsi and Coke’s branding. While Coca-Cola didn’t do any major change in their brand elements for over a hundred years, Pepsi went on to play around with their brand elements multiple times during this time period. The result can be easily seen in the superior market share of Coca-Cola. Another great example is how HP sauce has been true to its origin for almost a hundred years and has enjoyed consistent success.

The museum offers an educational program for student groups where the staff demonstrates different aspects of branding with some of the museum specimens. Then students are asked to study the evolution of branding for a certain product and present their critical thoughts on it. This is a unique way to help students understand and appreciate the historical relevance of branding. The premises also houses a café, gift shop and beautiful courtyard garden for the visitors to relax and get a view of nature within the concrete jungle of the city. Overall it offers a beautiful experience to enjoy within a 2-hour timeframe and highly recommended to any branding/marketing enthusiast visiting the city.

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