Wednesday, February 21, 2024

About syrup

The clever people who sell Lyle’s Golden Syrup are removing the image of bees swarming round a dead lion from at least some of its packaging. “Our fresh, contemporary design brings Lyle’s into the modern day, appealing to the everyday British household while still feeling nostalgic and authentically Lyle’s,” says the brand director, which obviously means nothing whatsoever, so others have stepped in to fill the gap. “The story of it coming from religious belief could put the brand in an exclusionary space, especially if it was to go viral on X or TikTok,” suggests a marketing academic. “It’s woke!” screech the readers of the Daily Mail, but frankly, what isn’t these days, as far as they’re concerned?

I know as much as they do, so here’s my guess. They wanted to get away from the Biblical reference (“Out of the strong came forth sweetness,” Judges, chapter 14) not because it might offend anybody’s sensibilities, religious or otherwise, not because they’ve finally realised a rotting cat isn’t the most appetising way to sell sweet goop, but because nobody understands it. Nobody knows who Samson (who supposedly said it) is, and nobody really cares. Why would you buy something that confronts you with your own ignorance every day? The semi-abstract lion’s face that replaces it doesn’t particularly refer to anything, doesn't challenge or provoke anything, especially not curiosity.

Of course, being a pedant above all things, my main objection to the logo is that the quote’s about honey, rather than syrup, which is a different product. But who cares about that?

PS: This may or may not be relevant. But I’m pretty sure it’s true.

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