February 10 is Umbrella Day, and while we appreciate the break in monotony afforded to us by the constantly-revolving calendar of “National Days,” we find this one to be particularly unnecessary. Because, really, who doesn’t appreciate umbrellas?
Anyone who has been caught out in a downpour without an umbrella quickly develops a life-long appreciation for this device, also known as a brolly, gamp, or (our favorite) a bumbershoot.
Still, why not give the humble umbrella some love? From famous umbrellas throughout history and in pop culture, to how custom logo umbrellas can help increase your brand visibility, we’re taking a few moments to shed some light on little-known umbrella facts.
Umbrellas are actually prominent in popular culture, but many of us don’t realize just how many “famous” umbrellas there are. Check out this slide show of notable brollies, then see if you can think of a few more!
You may not believe it, but there are actually many injuries and even deaths attributed to umbrellas. In fact, in 2017 the magazine Inside Edition published an article on the death of a woman who was killed by a flying beach umbrella and featured the stories of two other people who were seriously injured by runaway umbrellas.
Two deaths have been attributed to a modern art exhibit created by the environmental artists known as Christo and Jeanne-Claude. In 1991, a 34-year-old woman was killed when an umbrella from the California exhibit, weighing nearly 500 pounds, came loose and crushed her against a boulder.
When the exhibit was ordered closed as a result of this tragic accident, a worker at the sister site in Japan was electrocuted and killed while trying to remove another massive umbrella.
Perhaps it’s an overstatement to deem the above umbrellas “evil,” since the injuries and deaths attributed to them were really just freak accidents. This next umbrella, though, really is evil—it was turned into a deadly weapon and used to murder a man, James Bond-style.
On September 7, 1978, Bulgarian dissident and journalist Georgi Markov was waiting for a bus in London on his way to work at BBC. He felt a pain like a sting on the back of his thigh, but when he turned to find the offending insect all he saw was a man picking up an umbrella he appeared to have dropped.
Later that night Markov developed a fever—and he died in the hospital four days later. It turned out that Markov wasn’t stung that day at the bus stop: the umbrella he saw was wielded by an assassin who had worked with the KGB to engineer it in such a way that its tip was used to inject a ricin pellet into Markov’s leg.
We’ve already established that umbrellas are essential in pop culture, espionage, and in life in general. And since everyone appreciates an umbrella, promotional umbrellas (including golf umbrellas) are an ideal way to boost your branding for years to come.
According to ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute), a whopping 58% of consumers say that the quality of an umbrella is the main reason to keep it.
This makes good sense: when you are trying to avoid getting drenched on the way to an event, you aren’t nearly as concerned with the appearance of your umbrella as you are with its efficacy. Just as anyone who has been caught without an umbrella on a rainy day gains a new sense of their importance, anyone who has been let down by a broken umbrella develops a deep appreciation for a well-made bumbershoot.
If you want to be certain your umbrella will be the one they reach for every time there’s the chance of a shower, make sure you give them an umbrella that will stand up to the elements.
And if you give them a super-durable umbrella, you can feel free to go nuts with the customization—that sucker could have polka dots, checks, and stripes all over it and it will still be their go-to. So decorate that custom umbrella with your branding loud and proud, because ASI says that the average custom umbrella gets 1,100 impressions over its lifetime at a cost of less than a penny per impression!
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