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Author Topic: Why is a dead lion an integral part of Britain's oldest brand?  (Read 554 times)

Offline siasl

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Still going strong today, despite the weird imagery on the product

Offline P-Kasso2

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Re: Why is a dead lion an integral part of Britain's oldest brand?
« Reply #1 on: 21 June, 2018, 12:15:16 PM »
I presume that Britain's oldest brand (other than the Monarchy) is... Tate and Lyle's Golden Syrup!

I confess that one of my weirder inexplicable traits (up to when I was in my mid-twenties) was that I used to collect old tins - and among them syrup tins from around the world. I was quite weird back then. I had what probably was Britain's most massive collection of syrup tins from around the world...all which ended up either with like-minded demented friends or in the bin when I started travelling.

But back to your question... All of this means you've come to the right place for an answer to your question. 

Anyway, as I was then a budding graphic designer, I used to adore the Tate and Lyle's Golden Syrup tin's gold and green design and sit there for hours at the breakfast table with syrup dripping off my toast and with the glorious can before me - mostly admiring Tate and Lyle's quirky sheer bravery in daring to put a dead lion in front of millions of breakfasting Britons first thing in the morning. It couldn't happen today...too many marketing mavens would have screamed No, that's commercial suicide!

Tate and Lyle's morbid logo intrigued me so much that I did a fair bit of research into it (even in those idyllic and far-off days decades before Internet search engines).

The secret to the logo I discovered is in all the bees that swarm out of a gaping hole in the dead lion's ribs. Swarms and swarms of bees! They look more like flies feeding off the dead carcass. That made me even more intrigued and mystified.

It turns out that our Mr Lyle was a very religious man back then - and he knew all about the Old Testament biblical quote that says "Out of strength came forth sweetness".

Apparently the quote refers to the Bible's tough guy Samson and it was too good for Mr Lyle to pass up a marketing masterstroke when one hit him in the eye.

He swiftly registered the macabre logo and slogan in 1883, a date I will always remember as it was also my dear old granny's birth date.

If you squint carefully at a tin of Tate and Lyle's Golden Syrup today you'll still see (albeit in minute mouse script) under the deceased lion and the swarms of bees these immortal words "Out of strength came forth sweetness".

I think that the late Victorian consumers obviously had far stronger guts than we squeamish bunch do today.

I also think (No, correct that. I am totally convinced) that today's syrup consumers don't even notice what's on the front of the can - they turn straightaway to the back of the can to count the E numbers and look for any allergy warnings. It's sad really because they're missing out on a really fascinating story on the front of the can.

I think I'd better scrawl off a letter to Tate and Lyle's marketing department and suggest they revise the Golden Syrup can's layout and add an explanatory description of just what their gory logo is all about.
« Last Edit: 21 June, 2018, 12:20:04 PM by P-Kasso2 »
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Offline siasl

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Re: Why is a dead lion an integral part of Britain's oldest brand?
« Reply #2 on: 21 June, 2018, 11:32:58 PM »
What an excellently thorough answer. It does bring up a follow up question...

Having emptied all those tins of the delicious stuff, what did your dentist say?  Givnup

Offline P-Kasso2

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Re: Why is a dead lion an integral part of Britain's oldest brand?
« Reply #3 on: 22 June, 2018, 05:15:04 PM »
What an excellently thorough answer. It does bring up a follow up question...

Having emptied all those tins of the delicious stuff, what did your dentist say?
  Givnup

Aaaargh!
"I live in hope"