In Praise of Forgotten Brands

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Come on, you know you love them…

In late April, Selfridges will be hosting a Heinz Beans pop-up bar to celebrate 50 years of the ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ ad campaign. Dishes will include beans with crispy bacon, beans with smoked ham hock and beans with scrambled egg, all at £3 each.

Is this the ultimate irony? A humble ad campaign for an everyday staple turned into a celebrity? Or, like the Cereal Killer Café, is this another illustration of just how out of touch London is with the rest of the country?

Baked beans are one of those dirty secrets amongst the chattering classes. Nobody really admits to eating them, but Waitrose does a roaring trade in them. What other grubby brands should we be celebrating?

Birds Eye Iglo missed a trick last year in reintroducing Findus Crispy Pancakes. How could they be so sotto voce about this tea time masterpiece? Admittedly, the product is now slightly less Chernobyl, but it’s an absolute shoo-in for bogus posh nosh. Who’s for a smoked chorizo variant for serving on a bed of quinoa salad? Lamentably, they didn’t even do in-store tastings as part of their relaunch strategy.

Spam is 80 years old this year. Armies marched on Spam in WW2 and there’s even a Spam Museum, but now, thanks to Monty Python, we just take the mickey out of it. Maybe, Hawaiians have the right idea. According to Wikipedia (so it must be true) they are prone to eat it as sushi. This may well be the next hipster trend.

Walkers need to get their skates on, it’s 40 years since Monster Munch launched and there’s much to celebrate. They’ve restored them to their original, inconvenient size and three of the four original monsters have been retained. There’s no need for a pop-up bar, they just need to do ads that have our favourite dishes where spuds are replaced by Monster Munch. Chicken Kiev, baked beans and pickled onion Monster Munch – could anything be better?

Not only did Alfred Bird created ‘instant custard’ 180 years ago this year, but 50 years ago his eponymous company completely disrupted the dessert shelves with ‘Angel Delight’. This simple kid’s dessert has been in decline for some time, but owners Premier Foods announced this month that they are relaunching it in a pot for ‘on the go snacking’. Sadly, they’ve failed to tell anyone. Surely it’s not beyond the wit of their marketing and PR teams to get a celebrity chef to do something elaborate to get it into the newspapers. Where is Heston’s snail topped Butterscotch Angel Delight when you need it?

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WMH has a track record of getting loved and forgotten brands back into consumers’ heads. Our work on Hovis (those beans again) turned the brand around, as did our self centred Jaffa Cakes cartons. There are tons of these hidden gems just ripe for relaunch. Anyone for Homepride sauce poured over a Fray Bentos pie and Bovril gravy, or should that read ‘jus’?

Author: Richard Williams

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