Above is a magazine ad from 1975 during the height of the Bell Telephone monopoly days when the greatest extent of mainstream thought regarding technological evolution was the idea of sturdiness in a project. No one got frustrated in 1975 that a phone couldn’t act as a psychic medium and make reservations, rather imagined a phone that would not fall apart until the Clinton era.
We can learn two things from the above ad. First, we should never box ourselves in by alluding to (or bragging about) the timelessness of our product, just look to this Bell Telephone that only your great grandmother has in her house. Second, we can learn that what we imagine today as technologically advanced- iPads, augmented reality apps, Pandora in a car- will all be seen as obsolete some day, and at a more accelerated pace than 1975 could ever dream of.
It’s fun to look at retro ads and laugh, but we should walk away feeling proud of how far we actually have come, but should remember to try not to limit our own marketing to a specific moment in time. Retail has learned not to do this simply because consumers have proven willing to purchase new items every few years rather than decades, but real estate companies that believe themselves immune to automation in the industry or immune to the evolving model will feel silly in a few years.