5 December 2017
Author: Kathryn Bishop
From there, the 99 were immersed in the storytelling of 2023. Lined up in yellow, we traced the characters’ steps through the streets of Hackney. If asked by the public what we were doing, the only answer we were permitted to give was: ‘Going for Big Macs and fries’. If asked who we were, we could only say: ‘volunteers’.
At a time of heightened sensitivity, The KLF had 99 strangers marching through the streets with seemingly no destination, yellow smoke bombs guiding their path. A strange yet overwhelmingly addictive energy came with watching the unsettled reactions of passers-by.
For a few hours, we were part of something. Drummond and Cauty followed in their ice cream van, and at the end of the night we stood side by side to stick 50 giant posters stating 2023: What the fuuk is going on? on a wooden hoarding around a new building development – posters that advertised the book, should someone have Googled what it all meant.
It’s well known that brands can build loyalty through experiential marketing, and The KLF manage to maintain their air of mystery while building a cult-like fervour among fans through stunts such as Burn the Shard.
As The Future Laboratory’s macrotrend Revelation Brands outlines, at a time when we find ourselves increasingly trapped in online bubbles with brands competing for our attention, the chance to collaborate, be surprised, explore and make our own opinion of an experience, brand or place is something that money simply cannot buy.
And luckily for us, The KLF gave us a night of mild rebellion for free, except for a poster and an audio 12-inch relating to the book which – you guessed it – cost £20.23.
To read more about escapism through brand experiences, read The Future Laboratory’s Revelation Brands macrotrend.