A thousand things to do in Greenwich

Meg Carter on the National Maritime Museum's marketing plans for the year 2000

"A ONCE in one thousand years opportunity". That is how the development director of the National Maritime Museum, Mike Bullions, describes Greenwich Meridian 2000, an international marketing strategy for the millennium launched last week. Its aim: to position the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich as the focal point for world millennium celebrations and to raise money through commercial partnerships for further expansion.

The logic is simple. The Observatory sits on the Greenwich Meridian at zero degrees. This means it will be the official starting point for the year 2000. "Greenwich Mean Time was set up because of confusion about time in the 1870s - every astronomer had their own meridian," Mr Bullions explains. "Its importance is internationally acknowledged."

Purists might argue that the new century does not start until the dawn of 2001. But Mr Bullions is unperturbed. "We see it as the switch from 1999 to 2000, but I don't really care - either way, it gives us a whole year."

It is just as well that he also has the next four. For the National Maritime Museum is planning a raft of licensing, merchandising and promotional activities linked to a Greenwich Meridian 2000 marque, designed by Sampson Tyrell. Local, national and international companies will be approached to participate.

There will be a 1,000 Days Countdown, starting on 6 April, 1997, when businesses will be offered the chance to buy a day in the run-up to the end of the century. For a starting price of pounds 5,000 they will be able to use the Old Royal Observatory for corporate hospitality and stage marketing campaigns or themed promotions around their chosen date. Participating companies will also have their name added to an official Greenwich Meridian 2000 Countdown Register.

Mr Bullions and marketing consultancy BDS Sponsorship are already discussing opportunities with a number of companies. "Obvious areas to pursue are watch manufacturers and jewellery companies, drinks, film, clothing, transport and travel businesses," says Richard Busby, managing director of BDS.

But, Mr Bullions concedes, the strategy is about more than the millennium.

"The National Maritime Museum faces significant fund-raising requirements for its development programme," he says. "Our ambition is to raise the profile of Greenwich and all it represents, and to create an endowment for the future development of the museum."

The National Maritime Museum comprises three sites: the Old Royal Observatory, The National Maritime Museum Galleries and The Queen's House. Government subsidy currently provides 80 per cent of its funding but the figure is being reduced. Mr Bullions' brief is to find alternative, private finance. And he must raise additional money to match applications for National Lottery funding.

Planned refurbishment, which will extend the museum's display areas by 30 per cent, is part of a capital project expected to cost around pounds 20m.

So Mr Bullions and BDS have developed a multi-tiered strategy. First, the museum will stage its own millennium exhibition featuring icons gathered from around the world.

This will dovetail neatly with the separate Millennium Exhibition to be staged in Greenwich and supported by six other "satellite" locations, as confirmed last week by the Millennium Commission.

Secondly, the National Maritime Museum will sell TV rights to broadcast live from the official Meridian to mark the start of the new century. Then there is the Greenwich Meridian 2000 marketing strategy, which will also include merchandising and licensing of the marque to millennium- related events. A range of branded merchandise will be produced.

Although everything will be geared towards the millennium, the creation of the Meridian marque is also designed to last well into the new century when the "2000" will eventually be dropped.

Mr Bullions believes the approach stays loyal to the National Maritime Museum's roots. "We're about art, heritage, museums, history: we're not Disney World," he says.

Mr Busby puts it in a broader context: "It's an integrated, overall marketing campaign that represents great marketing opportunity for the museum and significant marketing and tourist opportunities for Britain."

Making Greenwich Meridian 2000 an internationally recognised marque will be key to the strategy's eventual success, he adds. "This is where it will happen; the challenge will be convincing everyone."

However, Mr Busby remains confident they can win support in all the important markets whose calendars simultaneously mark the new millennium. "Everyone knows Greenwich is the centre of time and that this is the place the millennium will actually occur. The issue is not the legitimacy of our claim, but remembering it."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
All British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Austen Lloyd: Company Secretary

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: EAST ANGLIA - SENIOR SOLICITOR LEVEL ROLE** -...

Citifocus Ltd: German Speaking Client Specialist

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious asset management house seeks a...

Citifocus Ltd: Performance & Risk Oversight

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: This is a varied role focusing on the firm's mutua...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Director - SaaS (SME/Channel) - £140,000 OTE

£90000 - £140000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achievin...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game