If you followed our Bring Back a Brand campaign and its glorious culmination in the return of Funny Feet last week, you’ll be in the perfect nostalgic mood to watch consumer historian Robert Opie’s new DVD exploring the history of all our favourite brands, which comes out on 2 September.
In Search of our Throwaway History is billed as “fascinating and fun” and “completely compelling” by columnist Harry Wallop and comedian Gyles Brandreth. And I agree. But be warned: do not expect expensive production values (it’s based, understandably, on stills from his collection) some of his intros are horribly contrived (“Mr Kipling? No, he didn’t actually exist but he does make exceedingly good cakes.” Boom boom) and the show lurches through history in headache-inducing fashion.
These quibbles aside, Opie’s opus is a rewarding one. After explaining how we entered the “pack age”, he walked us down memory lane, telling the story of how the big brands gained their iconic status (Oxo’s name change from Liebig’s Extract of meat was fairly crucial) and hearing from consumers what part the likes of Vesta meals, Angel Delight and Watneys Party Seven had played in their lives.
What was sad was how many brands had disappeared. I reckon loads could easily be brought back to life (take Spangles, Pacers and you can see where I’m going here the Texan bar). And what about collectable tea cards? Aah, those were the days! If you want to take a similarly wistful look back at the brands of your youth, you should watch this.