If I had to recount any adverts from the early 1980’s that I can still remember vividly today, one would be for Martini, and the famous strapline, ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’. The other would be for the chocolates, Black Magic, and the video clip of a mystery man dressed all in black, skiing downhill in the early evening dusk to deliver the chocolates of choice – very much akin to the opening scenes of a James Bond movie. Why both have remained in my mind to this day, I’ll never quite understand, but I’m sure some psychologist somewhere would have a field day offering suggestions and rationale. My husband on the other hand, reading this, will probably analyse this on a much simpler level – and the less said about that the better.
Anyhow, there is a point to this preamble, as the Martini advert came back to me this week for quite different reasons. We’ve just spent a week on holiday taking a well-deserved family break, and to keep costs down, we opted for ‘budget’ airlines to fly us the 7 hours to our destination of choice. Nothing wrong with this whatsoever, but what was notable about both, was that they promoted the latest in connectivity at 35,000 feet with their own wi-fi and films you could download (for a fee) direct to your mobile, tablet or laptop.
I’m a strong advocate for the concept of connectivity, and can definitely attribute the fact that we’ve settled in Canada from the UK much easier as a direct result of being able to feel ‘connected’ to family and friends back home. Social media has played a huge role in making us feel less isolated, and ironically, I probably see work colleagues more often now via video-conferencing and FaceTime than I did when back home! Distance certainly doesn’t seem to be a factor these days with the wonders of modern technology.
I also ‘get’ the fact that for those who spend a large chunk of their lives on planes, the ability to continue to email and connect with others is time well-spent whilst sat immobile above the clouds. Our outgoing flight was during daylight hours, and ‘to connect, or not to connect – that was the question’, left us with the view that we didn’t want to pay a premium for connectivity or films we weren’t really bothered about seeing. The kids were slightly perplexed that the films they were expecting to see in the back of the seat in front were not on offer, but quickly amused themselves with other past-times and activities. In fact, card games emerged, word searches came out, and general conversation was made. It was simply refreshing.
Our return flight was enlightening for much different reasons. This was a night flight commencing at 10pm, and for the entire duration of the flight, the plane had ‘lights-off’. Ideal for those wanting to grab what sleep they could for a flight that would see us lose a night’s sleep due to the time difference when we landed back in Canada. We all tried to get as much sleep as we could – my youngest kid, falling fast asleep the moment the plane hit the clouds and didn’t wake until the tyres touched the tarmac 7 hours later.
However, it’s the night flights that highlight those with connection addictions – and are usually blissfully unaware of the impact this has on those around them. I had a woman sat on the row in front, who clearly needed to be connected via email and social media to those everywhere else other than with those on the plane. Such was the extent of her addiction, that the glare from her iPhone screen which she checked every 20 minutes, was so bright, you thought someone had lit a flare throughout the front section of the plane. Not only that, she was clearly antagonised from whatever email exchanges she was having as she related the dissatisfaction to her husband across the aisle – and everyone else within earshot – who in fairness along with the rest of us, clearly couldn’t care less and was attempting to grab a few winks sleep. Surely there’s some connectivity etiquette which needs to be observed and maybe there are some instances where being able to disconnect from the world, isn’t such a bad thing?
Today’s holidays certainly drive the Martini experience of having everything, ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’. I just wonder where this will end? Will at some point, holidays of the future start to market a ‘retro-offer’ with the ability to turn off from work and connecting externally with others, so you have quality time to re-connect with those you’ve gone on holiday with? It would be ironic wouldn’t it. Maybe they could throw in a box of Black Magic chocolates as the finishing touch…