Q. What do you get when you cross 100 years of consumer behaviour with one man’s passion for collecting?
A. The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising in Notting Hill.
The M.O.B.P.A. is the labour of love from consumer historian Robert Opie, who is so devoted to recording manufacturer’s attempts to make us buy things that he has devotedly collected over 12,000 items that reflect the consumer world around us. After a 20-year stint in the regional outpost of Gloucester, the M.O.B.P.A. has eventually reached its spiritual home in Britain’s consumer capital.
It was surely worth the wait, as the collection realistically records all aspects of daily life—toys, comics, magazines, newspapers, technology, travel, royal souvenirs, fashion and design. It’s a fascinating and at times nostalgic experience; a signpost of how temperamental consumer fads are, and one of the best ways to make you feel old as you gaze with familiarity at things that you once couldn’t live without, but can now barely remember owning. The collection is a significant reflection of 100 years of the consumer zeitgeist and amazingly, grew from the modest gesture of Opie saving a packet of Munchies he bought at the age of 16. In keeping with the capitalist spirit, M.O.B.P.A. charges an entrance fee; although, not to lament, we’re assured this keeps the Museum in top notch condition for future generations to laugh at the tat that we’re all busy buying now.