Our business this week is relatively straight-forward. We are wishing many happy returns to the Harris Tweed Association, 100 years old this year.
The ad dates from 1936. The commodity is Harris Tweed, among the finest cloth known to man. Made in Britain and ONLY in the Outer Hebrides. The Association, with its famous orb trademark has been fighting off pale imitations for a century now.
That much is straightforward.
It is, however, the copy that intrigues us. Particularly the headline: Individuality.
In the period with which we are dealing, individuality could often be seen as a seditious thing, non-U, just not done. To stand out from the crowd was to be an exhibitionist at best, a dangerous loner at worst.
Time and again we’ve seen it here on a Sunday: ads preached the virtues of their product by stating clearly that everyone uses it, to step away from the herd would be seen by one’s peers as madness.
Dicey, therefore, to start bandying about such behaviour as desirable. Only a product so utterly sure of its reputation for quality could put forth such a thesis. Such a product is Harris Tweed.