Profile: Anna Terry

Brands and advertising offer a glimpse into how consumer culture develops
Museums Association
Anna Terry is development director at the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, which reopens this month in new, larger premises at the London Lighthouse building.

What changes has the move resulted in?

We have more room for things like our time tunnel – a chronological display that can now look more closely at recent decades – a new gallery and additional areas focusing on sustainability and other topics connected to our core subjects.

We have our first dedicated learning space, a proper cafe and bigger shop and conference facilities, which should all help us to quadruple visitor capacity. And, of course, the building comes with a lovely award-winning garden.

It seems as though everyone thinks they are a brand now

That’s certainly an idea we’re going to explore through the displays and events programme. There will be debates and conversations with brand owners, and the creative agencies they work with, about the modern-day implications of the word “branding” –
it’s not a particularly new phenomenon.

The royal family features throughout the collection and they could be considered a brand with some history. The museum will focus on themes including challenger brands coming through, such as Uber and Airbnb, as well as established brands such as Yeo Valley.

Looking at the past 150 years of consumer culture that we reflect here is a great way for marketing teams to think about what they are going to do with their brands in the future.

Where does the story start?

The early days of mass production when products started to come in packs, such as tea wrapped in paper, enabling consumers to make a choice and stick with a name that they recognised and trusted.

Now, of course, most of our younger visitors have huge loyalty to their chosen electronic goods and other brands with which they are keen to associate.

Why did you move into museum development? We knew when we opened 10 years ago that the first site wasn’t going to be long term. Finding a new one was hard so I moved into this role to focus on that. I’d previously worked in administrative and cultural management.

Which brands do you admire?

It’s always great to see a new British brand starting up. I’m a fan of Gü, which makes high-quality puddings and has strong branding. I also like those from the late 1900s. There’s a bunch that end in “o”, such as Brasso and Oxo, which have had consistent branding for more than 100 years – we largely take them for granted.

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