Last month’s way above average temperatures put me in a Spring state of mind. After cleaning up the yard I actually tilled our garden and planted some lettuce and spinach! It may not do much, but it was awfully fun to be doing it in February. I also started a little Spring cleaning in my office here at the store.
If you’ve ever seen my office you know it’s about one third office and two thirds museum. I have all sorts of Oswald’s memorabilia, antique remedies, photos, old newspaper ads and stories all crammed into every nook and cranny. Of course, once I get started I usually stumble across something of interest, get sidetracked, and the well-intentioned cleaning doesn’t go much further.
This time what gave me pause was a small box of VHS (remember those?) tapes. They contained TV commercials we ran on cable TV back in the early 2000’s. I took them home and watched them for the first time in over fifteen years. There were customer testimonials and descriptions of our store and services offered. What was striking to me was the message was pretty much the same as it has been for over one hundred years!
Speaking of technology change, watching those tapes brought into focus what has transpired in business advertising and promotion over the last 20 years. A lot of what constituted advertising for decades – TV, radio, the Yellow Pages, newspapers and magazines – doesn’t work for many businesses like it used to. The explosion of the internet, smart phones and tablets has changed the way we do almost everything. The money that we used to budget for print or TV advertisements is now going to website and app development. The time that we used to spend on laying out promotional pieces is now spent on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and posts. And let’s not forget about YouTube. We have been putting up videos on YouTube this past year that are fun to watch while also highlighting everything from our gift products to scooters and canes. Once I get these old VHS commercials digitized you will be able to watch them on YouTube too!
P.S. If you have any old VHS or 8mm tapes in a closet at home and have been thinking about getting it transferred to digital, now is the time. The tape was not meant to last forever and deteriorates with every passing year.