Friday, October 12, 2007

Blasts from the past


I'm doing a presentation in a few weeks to a group of car retailers and financiers. Because I've written a book about the trials and the terrific bits of being middle-aged, and edit a magazine for that same group of consumers, I quite often get asked to talk about us quaint old geezers. Businesses know that the 50-plus crowd is one that they should be marketing to, because the baby boomers is roaring along in fine style, some just starting to retire and with more money and time than most other people. But for the young, they're still old fogies.

I've had fun today browsing through some magazines from my archives, looking for ancient ads that I used to enjoy putting in the pages of Next magazine. The idea was to show people how much things have changed over years. My god, have they ever.

The ad here dates from the 1950s (when the baby boomers were babies), when only very very rich people flew anywhere, and when Pan Am still existed, and Lockerbie hadn't happened (let alone 9/11) and it took days to fly to Europe and maybe jet-lag hadn't even been invented, let alone economy class syndrome. It took so long to get anywhere that the plane would land and the crew and the passeners would all fall asleep, an event no doubt preceded by a darn good dinner and a martini or two, and then they'd all set forth again, fresh and rested, the next morning.

Back then (though for some reason or other, people are starting to say 'back in the day' now - why is that?) the dear old blunt-nosed Strato Clipper could fly 4000 miles at a stretch, which probably sounded a lot to people who'd only ever chugged along on ships before then. But they did do it in style. The fine print says the de luxe flights ("President service", if you please) featured "superb hot meals, complimentary champagne and choice of individual sleeping accommodation". Mmm. Were it not for the roar of all those propellors, it might have been a nice way to go.

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