In years gone by many manufacturers used different brand names for the same product in different parts of the world. However, with the advent of globalisation in recent years, many companies have taken to rationalising their brand names so they are the same worldwide. This has meant the loss of many familiar and often fondly remembered names – in this country alone Marathon chocolate bars became Snickers, Jif cleaning products became Cif and the insurance company Norwich Union became Aviva. However, this globalisation has occasionally backfired. In 1998, after 28 years, Kelloggs changed the name of their chocolate children’s cereal from Coco Pops to Choco Krispies only to see their market share decline. In 1999, after a public vote, they reverted to the old name and saw sales rise by 20% over the course of a year – perhaps the customer always does know best!
One brand I clearly remember from my childhood is Opal Fruits sweets, whose name was changed in 1998 to Starburst to match the rest of the world. At the Goodwood Racing Revival in September last year they built a temporary branch of Tescos supermarket and stocked it with groceries which were available at the time the circuit was open for racing, between 1948 and 1966. Many of the products on the shelves were authentic looking but empty boxes. However, they did have real Opal Fruits for sale in special period wrappers so I bought a couple of packs. We still have one pack left so I thought I’d compare the old and new versions for the MOP today. I found that while the wrapper had changed significantly the flavours are pretty much the same today as fifty years ago. However, in buying the current version I also discovered that there’s a new kid on the Starburst/Opal Fruits block – Starburst Smoothies. These contain yoghurt as well as fruit juice and I can confirm they’re very tasty. Well, having bought them I had to do some quality control testing to make sure they were up to standard!
Many thanks to Jon
for suggesting and coordinating this Mass Observation Project. It is in response to the project of the same name which took place in the United Kingdom in the 1930s and 40s to record everyday life. On the first Monday of each month Photoblog members will post a photo on a particular theme depicting life in their own country. A list of all of this month’s MOP photos can be found here