If you wander around an airport like Heathrow or JFK you’ll run into a vast array of stupefying crap. Crap so strange, so expensive and so frankly weird that you wonder in what twisted part of the human mind did these products become reality. I’m talking about merchandising so strange and left field that normal human beings are barely be able to comprehend it. If Harrods branded golf ball covers are too normal or Loch Ness USB radio/cigar lighters are tame you need to head to the cathedral of merchandising.
It’s called M&M World in Leicester Square, London
At M&M World all bets are off. You take a ordinary sweet and create a little cartoon character. Then you apply this to the entire cornucopia of insane merchandise. So how do you serve sweets to normal people? Well, you build retro car M&M dispensers, fruit machine dispensers, and then you do wrist bracelets, bottle openers, pyjamas, underwear, wrapping paper and the list never ends. Just when your brain has processed every conceivable surface onto which to put a M&M character, you are offered a pseudo mood sensor to choose which colour of M&M is you. And people queue for it.
It becomes addictive. You ignore reality and emerse yourself in a retinal explosion of stellar garbage. It’s wonderful. After 20 minutes, we felt like we’d spend two weeks in Vegas. It is perfect, unashamed and glorious. You will enter cynical and leave joyous. Marketing doesn’t get better than this.