BRANDS & Anniversaries

Spotlighting the concept of time, anniversaries are a fantastic opportunity to turn past, present, and future into trampolines for exceptional brand experiences.

by Irene Mercorelli and Moreno Callegari

alt=
Innovation culture 01 December 2023

Like all things we create as humans, brands unveil our essence, thoughts, and driving forces, ultimately revealing what makes us, us. Enter BRANDS &, a column that explores the various manifestations of the brand as an entity and the territories in which it chooses to operate. Each edition unveils a narrative woven into the fabric of the human experience, showcasing a parade of diverse brand expressions. Our debut focuses on BRANDS & Anniversaries, spotlighting the concept of time, turning past, present, and future into trampolines for exceptional brand experiences.

Anniversaries revolve, par excellence, around our birth, where we unknowingly stand before the first candle someone else will blow out for us. This is the only anniversary we celebrate yearly because all others are celebrated in groups of at least 5. We rarely commemorate the 46th year of something, but we mark the occasion when the years since the initial event reach 5 (like the fingers of one hand) and then 10, 20, 50, 75, 100: there’s something inherently complete in these numbers that captivate us, prompting celebrations for weddings, births, or events that have somehow changed us forever.

We tend to anthropomorphize the anniversaries of things, too. For instance, when an event reaches its 100th edition (think of a festival or a sports race), it has an undoubtedly extraordinarily rich narrative to share. If it has remained relevant to a community for all those years, then celebrating its anniversary feels almost mandatory, like joining the festivities for a centenarian’s birthday.

There are many occasions to celebrate: one commemorates the birth or death of individuals who changed the way we perceive humanity through inventions, compositions, and ideas. Additionally, celebrations extend to historical events, seeking to infuse meaning into the time that has passed from the original event to the present.

And brands?

Brands never miss an opportunity to leverage the context of anniversaries to build awareness and loyalty in an audience whether old or new. It is an opportunity to give back to the public that has supported the brands over the years to convey their sincerely rooted founding values and, when present, create a privileged gateway to their worldview. This engagement allows the audience to reflect on the past and imagine the future.

Are 10 years of a start-up life worth as much as 10 years of a large corporation? Will they celebrate in the same way?

Each brand decides what value it places on time spent. And it is in this choice that the most interesting part lies. It is in this interpretation of time passing and its celebration in anniversaries that a brand reveals its beliefs, its generosity towards the public, and its vision of the world.

Self-celebrating is never a good idea, but sharing with the public, opening up to the new, and creating a permeable context for celebrations seems to be a widespread practice.

Sharing is the imperative to which many of the brands’ celebratory events seem to be subject, and sharing is what they will receive, from the grateful public. In celebrating anniversaries, as we will explore in all the forthcoming issues of this column, brands tend to craft experiences that harness what philosopher Federico Leoni, in MAIZE magazine issue dedicated to the topic of desire, calls the eagerness “to participate in the whirlpool of an event”.

“The object of desire” (the experience the brand creates for the public) “no longer stands before us” (as it’s not a product anymore); “it becomes an aquarium in which to swing or float”.

Today’s consumer audience craves connecting with the brands they love, seeking those whose values align with theirs, and desiring to be a part of their lifestyle. As audiences eagerly immerse themselves in the captivating worlds curated by brands, a profound shift occurs and brands have a new call to answer: be authors and world-creators, and invite audiences to immerse themselves in the narratives they craft.