Modern Mythologies— in celebration of stories
Thousands of years ago, stories reigned supreme.
In the absence of concrete science and cold, hard facts, the truths of the world were hung on lofty legends - making sense of our surroundings by spinning a yarn. Myths, epics and folklore - whatever you want to call them, all provided the guiding principles for why the world was the way it was, and how to behave.
In this way, we’ve always told stories. Lest, we be crushed by the vastness of the universe’s greatest mysteries.
But these days, the world is becoming less mysterious by the minute. What we’ve gained in the age of information, we’ve lost in romance. We know more - and even if we don’t, the answer is but a whisper away.
Hey Siri, have we grown up and out of stories?
As a writer, this question might leave me quaking in my boots, quill all a quiver. However, working for an agency that champions the art of storytelling and fights for its relevance, I feel confident stories are here to stay. In fact, they’re everywhere.
Hermes, messenger of Mount Olympus, wings an online order your way, post-haste. Athletes the world over invoke the goddess of victory by the sole of their shoes and a siren seductively adorns your morning mocha, coaxing with cries of caffeine.
Though brought crashing down to earth, legends still live among us, very much alive and well in the modern canon. Only our modern mythologies now serve a different purpose. Less deriving meaning from the world, and more, adding depth to our everyday.
Though we no longer need to anchor ourselves in allegory, a story - a good one, still wins every time. In a crowded market, brands live or die by their differences. A brand without a backstory? Give me a break.
The Fife Arms, Hauser & Wirth’s revamped Victorian coaching inn in Braemar, is alive with a thousand histories, take your pick. Proof that bedtime stories are not just for small children, each room is inspired by a famous guest, from Robert Louis Stevenson to Lord Byron.
Its whisky bar, Berties, is a tribute to Prince Edward, affectionately named Dirty Bertie, and littered with easter egg clues related to the rougeish royal. If gin is more your tipple, you can raise a glass to the Spirited Princess, Queen Victoria’s rebellious fourth daughter, whose story wraps their house gin bottle, proud in purple and green - the colours of the Suffragette movement.
Another land (and brand) steeped in more than a few stories is Glendalough. It's said that centuries ago, in searching for greater meaning in nature, St Kevin discovered the green paradise nestled in the heart of Wicklow. The area is rich with ancient Irish Oak, and wild botanicals, adding character to their whisky and depth to their gin. But growing equally as abundantly, romance and legend by the forager’s basket load.
Fuelled by a quest for the finest flavours, Glendalough is a brand that ventures from its own forests to the woods of the world. From these adventures, they return richer with tales of their travels. You’ll find this in the red thread of fate that adorns the Mizunara whiskey, a reward for those that, like St Kevin, search for deeper meaning. Or, turn a bottle of wild botanical gin over in your hands, and discover an allegorical glass etching, a secret coded map of the valley.
As the old proverb goes, An té a bhíonn siúlach, bíonn scéalach, “He who travels has stories to tell”.
The simple fact is that brands are more compelling when wrapped neatly in a narrative. And whilst nothing gets in the way of a good story like the truth, those stories built on a glimmer of something real and true resonate with us the most.
So, are you sitting comfortably? Then let me begin…