The ‘mint with a hole’ clocks up 70 years on our shelves

The phrase ‘iconic’ is often banded around for products and items that aren’t always terribly deserving of the description.

But in confectionery terms, Polo is very much in that exclusive club worthy of such high praise as a piece of confectionery that has stood the test of time.

This week, the brand celebrates its 70th anniversary, which is no mean feat in a market that has undergone huge changes over the past few decades.

Intriguingly, its original owners Rowntree’s were well aware of the need for brand awareness as you’ll see with some of its earlier marketing campaigns shown here from the 1950s in black and white.

Without such conscious bids to cement the product in consumers’ minds at that stage in its history, it’s hard to imagine whether it would have gone on to become as big as it has done.

While the advertising sector has clearly moved on light years from such comparatively basic posters into a multimedia landscape, the principles of seeking to stand out from the crowd remain the same.

One of its boldest moves still remains the case of its 1995 ad campaign, making an ‘April fool’ joke of pretending that the EEC had dictated that its famous hole had to be shored up on the grounds of sweets being entirely uniform in their design.

Though this was only ever intended as an entirely light-hearted advert, it’s a move that throws into sharp contrast what exactly will happen with the confectionery market as we move ever more rapidly towards the door of exiting the EU. Will there be an entirely new set of trading regulations to be created governing the sector? Will there be a customs union deal at the 11th hour as some suspect? These are big questions that are of key importance that need to be answered sooner rather than later, if brands such as Polo are to enjoy another 70 years of history….

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