Polo, the original ‘mint with a hole,’ turns 70

One of the UK’s most renowned confectionery brands, Polo, is marking its 70th anniversary in bringing the famous mint into the 21st century with Facebook and Instagram accounts.

The ‘mint with the hole’ was developed by George Harris, who was behind some of Rowntree’s biggest brands in the 1930s including KitKat, Smarties, Aero, Black Magic and Dairy Box, which is regarded by many observers as a golden age for the market.

Last year, Polo’s owners, Nestle, expanded the traditional product through introducing a variety with plastic pots, which also included a sugar free variety.

The idea for the mint was developed in the late 1930s, but due to the Second World War and sugar rationing it was shelved. However, in 1948 George Harris was determined to resurrect the idea.

Before the war, George had reportedly been inspired by the US brand Life Savers (a mint with a hole designed to look like a life-saving rubber ring) and had decided to make something similar in the UK. Company legend has it that he chose the name Polo because it derived from Polar and he thought that this implied the cool freshness of mint.

For many, it is the TV and print ads from the 1980s/90s that people remember, with the screen ads including the Mint with a Halo and Conveyor Belt, often with the unmistakable voice of the late Peter Sallis. In 1995, Polo famously announced on April 1st as a traditional joke, that “in accordance with EEC Council Regulation (EC) 631/95” they would no longer be producing mints with holes.

A fairly convincing advert accompanied the move, including a ‘Euro conversion kit’. The company’s complete history can be found on its updated Instagram and Facebook accounts. Polo’s new account can be seen at www.facebook.com/NestlePolo/

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