Museum makes a mint out of its millennium marque
Sunday 29 November 1998
Firms including Guinness, Champagne Mumm, Accurist and Parker Pens have already bought exclusive world rights to use the Greenwich Meridian 2000 marque, and more big-name companies are expected to follow, making the two institutions which sit on the meridian line about pounds 5m in licensing deals.
Since 1884, the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich has been the official home of time by international treaty. Every day, clocks around the world are set according to Greenwich time, and at midnight on 31 December, 1999, the zero degree meridian line at the Old Royal Observatory will mark the official start of the new millennium.
The museum, also based on the meridian line, says it is using this unique position to safeguard its financial future. The line runs straight through the site of the museum and bisects the observatory.
"It struck us as quite rare for a museum to have something of interest for business," said the museum's spokesman Michael Barrett. "We realised that as we approach the millennium the Prime Meridian is just that."
Marketing experts forecast the biggest branding exercise the world has seen. For as 1999 begins, hundreds - if not thousands - of businesses will start producing millennium-related products, trying to cash in on the once-in-a-thousand years opportunity.
But the position of the museum on the Prime Meridian has given its marque an air of authority. "We see it as a sort of endowment for the museum, and any way we can raise money is good," said Mr Barrett. "The ability to raise our own funding becomes more important as government funding for museums declines."
The marque has already been licensed for hundreds of products, including a special edition Parker Pen, a selection of wines, spirits and beer, a desktop countdown clock and more everyday items like baseball caps, T-shirts and diaries.
Ray Perry, marketing director of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, says: "The potential is huge, given that this is a global event. Realistically, you are talking about a branding exercise that will be worth billions of pounds so most companies will want to add the word millennium to their product at some point."
But with this millennium-branded goods glut comes an opportunity for the shrewd investor to profit from some of the more unusual items that will be on sale.
One company, Millennium Collectables, has joined Royal Doulton to produce a series of eight figures representing classical advertising icons of the 20th century.
The series, limited to 2,000 per piece, includes Fox's Polar Bear, Robertson's Golly, the Milky Bar Kid and the Guinness Toucan, with prices averaging less than pounds 75 per figure.
Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
Chicago River turns green to mark Saint Patrick's Day 2014
Saint Patrick's Day: Google Doodle marks patron saint of Ireland - here are 10 things you didn't know about the man
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did jetliner fly into area controlled by Taliban? Net widens after claims final satellite signal could have been sent from the ground
Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Britain’s five richest families worth as much as poorest 20 per cent, says Oxfam
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 4 Nasa-funded study warns of ‘collapse of civilisation’ in coming decades
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client operates within the healthcare...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client is a tech start up within the ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cardiff: Randstad Education are currently seeki...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cardiff: Randstad Education Cardiff are current...