There was a time when gold fever struck.
It sent me hunting around old mining areas in places like Mudgee and Gulgong in New South Wales.
Tambaroora was another location … a ghost town.
The area had been prospected heavily in the mid-nineteenth century, but you never know.
‘You never know’ … they aren’t my words but those of a guy who sold me a complete gold panning kit — professional model.
Like every good selling proposition his message was packed with promise.
Happily enough, we found a few bright yellow flakes, and gorgeous they were, albeit microscopic.
No cries of Eureka that day.
To mix metaphors it was not unlike fishing for Marlin and returning home with an underweight shrimp.
All this makes me think of gold panning from another era … the 1930s when gold hunting became a mode of survival for laid-off workers.
(Laid off workers, there’s a topical subject for you.)
With the bite of the Depression life was near enough impossible, hardly anyone was employed.
So, many in America with imagination and grit headed out to sift through the tailings of old gold mines looking for undiscovered wealth.
Utah, California and Colorado were rife with men hunting for gold that had been overlooked.
Vermont, as well.
It’s said there’s plenty of overlooked gold out there, left by 1850s mining methods that were less than efficient.
A few Depression era gold hunters did find traces of color (gold hunting lingo has stayed with me) to see them through.
The Depression eased, the economy came back and fossicking for gold fell to weekenders keen on a bit of fresh air and an adventure.
Of course, all you’ve read to this point is amateur stuff, hobbyist at best.
These days if you looked to gold hunting to cope with being furloughed you’d benefit with a bit of research and study.
A few hours with your nose in a geology tome could pay off.
For a gold strike, you’d want to look for ancient rivers.
Water courses that could be several hundred million years old.
These rivers might be found hundreds or even thousands of feet above modern-day rivers.
Massive geologic uplift put them there along the steep reaches of mountainsides.
To find these overlooked areas trek the mountains, head down, searching for telltale smooth stones, water-worn rocks.
That’s your sign of a river. A river that could have been gold-bearing a million or so years ago.
Gold hunting resourcefulness … the idea of ‘searching further’ could well be applied to advertising and marketing.
In the current lockdown maybe we could find time for that.
With imagination and grit who knows what you could discover by acquainting yourself with what goes into an ad to make it great.
There’s much out there that’s been overlooked when it comes to selling and building brand share. The power of great creative work, for one thing.
As to that, Bill Bernbach said ‘It may well be that creativity is the last legal unfair advantage we are allowed to take over the competition’.
Yeah sure, that’s old school stuff but canny marketers know it as in-school when it comes to turning up riches.