And The People Bowed And Prayed. To The Neon God They Made.

There’s a museum in Oxford called The Ashmolean.

Kind of a weird name, but a very cool place. Like a more accessible, and better curated, British Museum.

At the moment they are running this amazing exhibition called ‘Gods in Colour’.

It sounds a bit like ‘Pigs in Space’, or ‘Girls on Film’, which makes it instantly appealing.

But the name is nothing compared to the exhibition itself.

We’re used to seeing busts, sculptures and statues of Greek and Roman gods in the cool, sedate beiges, greys and browns of the stone and marble from which they are hewn. But here they are at The Ashmolean painted in the rich, warm colours of the Mediterranean – which research suggests is how they likely appeared when they adorned the homes and temples of our European ancestors.

It means that we see them in a totally different context; and a much more honest one.

Context, and therefore honesty, is in pretty short supply these days – not least because of how much data we consume through social media. The lack of context that we have about people’s posts not only adds fuel to the fire of Facebook’s ‘offendeds’ and Twitter’s ‘outrageds’, but means that we miss out on so much of the nuance that defines us as individuals, and as human beings.

Marketers need to be acutely aware of this. In an age where we are all seeking to appeal to different markets and geographies the world over, context has never been more important – the price for failing to understand local subtlety and savour-faire can be enormous; existential, even.

Colour might have been all the rage two or three thousand years ago.

But today, we need to keep reminding ourselves that there are – at the very least – 50 Shades of Grey.

– this piece first kindly published by The Marketing Society