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Blast from the Past

By Vance Gillette

9-5 video galleryEver since people started adding swimming pools to their backyards, the companies that make the equipment, tools, systems and accessories that drive or ease their use have tried to reach and influence consumers.

Real successes in those efforts can probably be counted on the fingers of a hand or two; I’ve always thought that, as an industry, we do a much better job of talking among ourselves at trade shows and in trade magazines than we do at getting to consumers where they live.

You’ll be glad to know that this is not a discussion I want to pursue here; rather, I want to focus  on the video linked below, which recently came to my attention and set me off on this train of thought.

The tape includes a pair of promotional messages for products that long ago faded from view, but it reminds me of a time when video was a pioneering medium and finding companies with the ambition to use it well was a rarity. The tapes probably played on television sets in trade or home show booths; or maybe some progressive retailers had them on hand to dazzle consumers with no-fuss product demonstrations?

In watching them, however, I’m mostly struck by the fact that, when these tapes were made back in the 1970s and ’80s, they went a long way toward getting across the same messages about lifestyle and authentic experience we are still trying to convey today. Maybe I’m being charmed by the grainy, faded images, but to me these videos do a powerful job of defining benefits and expectations in ways that still make sense by holding out the promise of making life with a pool seem an easy, straightforward proposition.

Technologically, we’ve come a long way since these tapes were made – and thank goodness for that. But this is a reminder that we still have a long way to go promotionally in helping consumers understand the merits of products that make pools and other watershapes tick.

To see the video, click here.

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