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CREATIVE STRATEGY: Greeks employ modern methods to fight for heritage

What, precisely, has the coalition Government achieved so far? While you ponder that question, I must declare a vested interest in this week's review.

Heritage: Greek archaeologists campaign to preserve their country's past

Heritage: Greek archaeologists campaign to preserve their country's past

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I’m a trained historian who recently married an archaeologist. So, not surprisingly, I think that the study of the past is a vital part of what makes up our identity, culture, nationhood even. And it's bloody good fun.

Our so-called political leaders have taken a different view. Their proposals to "simplify" the planning procedures would decimate archaeological investigations prior to new construction projects. This at a time when local authorities are slashing their archaeological services because of Government-imposed budget cuts.

But what has all this got to do with advertising?  As it turns out, quite a bit.

Going back to the question above, the Government has united and galvanised groups of people who were previously fragmented and complacent. And, thanks to the power of social media and online petitioning, their voices are being heard.

Archaeologists are better known for being beardy, ale-loving coves than hot-headed political protesters. But the comments of one particularly philistine Fenland councillor with links to local building companies quickly led to the formation of a Facebook group designed to spread information and rally people outside the heritage industry to the cause.

All well and good. But is it enough? Not according to the Greeks. Perhaps big, important questions that affect us all deserve a high-profile campaign. As we see here:

In this film, a mother and child wander around a museum of ancient Greek artefacts. All is calm, sunny and enlightened. I won’t spoil the sting in the tail, except to say that this simple ad packs a punch. 

It’s true that the Greeks may be the authors of their own economic tragedy; but one has to applaud the efforts of the S.E.A. (Greek Archaeologists Association) to debate the potential consequences.

Similar organisations across Europe might also embrace the contemporary arts of advertising in their struggle to protect our past.

Simon S Kershaw is a creative consultant and a former creative director at Craik Jones

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