The sea of red: Tower of London remembers WWI

The most impressive marketing campaign I’ve ever seen gave me goosebumps, moved me to tears and motivated me to make a donation.

The Tower of London remembered the 888,246 fallen British soldiers of World War I by staking one blood red ceramic poppy flower for each lost man in the Tower’s moat.

Part art exhibition, part marketing awareness campaign, part fund-raiser – and entirely impressive – the poppies spilled out of a Tower window, dripped into the moat, and splashed up and over the moat walls.

Each poppy, beautifully designed by artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, was installed by hand between July and November. The slow progression of the sea of red poppies – and the collective human sacrifice – overpowered me when I visited the Tower in September.

Veterans stood side-by-side with children and grandchildren of the War. The scene was quiet around the moat walls. I saw two elderly men wipe away tears. My children were instinctively quiet and then tearful, too, when we explained the significance of each flower.

Not surprisingly, every poppy was sold in advance of the end of the exhibit, raising millions of pounds for six charities.

I went on vacation to escape work and found myself more inspired by brilliant, meaningful marketing than ever before.