The swinging 1960s was a period of creativity and self-expression.
The shackles were thrown off when National Service ended in 1960, the year DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, banned since 1928, went back on sale. In 1961, birth control pills became available on the NHS - around the same time Mary Quant invented the miniskirt. A year later the Stones and the Beatles played their first gigs.
In 1965, capital punishment was abolished, and racial discrimination criminalised. In 1967, male homosexuality in England and Wales was decriminalised. Abortion became legal in 1968.
In 1969, the voting age was lowered to 18 - the same year Barclaycard released the first British credit card and Concorde took off. And an increase in Continental travel led to a surge in popularity for European cuisine, although tastes were still basic: as well as the first flavoured crisps, launched by Golden Wonder in 1962 (cheese & onion), new launches included Ginsters (1960), Pukka Pies (1963), Angel Delight (1967) and Smash (1968).
The supermarkets were growing in size and popularity: in 1962, the same year Safeway opened its first supermarket, Morrisons launched a 5,000 sq ft store with free parking in a former cinema. Asda, a former dairy company, set up shop in Castleford in 1965, also in a converted cinema.
With the abolition, in 1964, of Resale Price Maintenance, the balance of power was starting to swing. In 1967, fast-growing business Tesco launched its first out-of-town superstore, with 90,000 sq ft of selling space. This was also the era in which the UK developed its preeminence in chilled food distribution, which helped support the launch of Ski yoghurts (1963).
With national brands needing to stand out, advertising, too, was now more sophisticated - featuring on ever-more-popular (and now colour) televisions - and more closely monitored. The Advertising Standards Authority was founded in 1962, and the Trade Descriptions Act was introduced in 1968.
In 1965, cigarette advertising was banned on British TV - a blow for new tobacco brands, including Nelson (1960), Embassy (1962) and Players No 6 (1965). However, Hamlet (1964) could rest easy - cigar brands remained at liberty to advertise until 1991.
History of Brands
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History of brands: the 1960s