Filed under: Comment
A long time ago, I worked on a brand called Tango.
While it was available in a few other countries, it was basically the British version of Fanta.
And the fact it was the ‘British version’ was something I just couldn’t shake from my mind.
Basically I kept asking myself why would there ever be a British version of something so American when, back then, America was so bloody cool.
They had Ford Mustangs. We had Ford Sierra’s.
They had Star Wars. We had Blake’s Seven.
They had the Jackson 5. We had Bucks Fizz.
To cut a long story short, we kept asking ourselves a two-part question:
1. What is quintessentially British?
2. Will it make kids think it’s cool compared to the version from the US of A?
We discussed and explored a lot of things, but it was when we spoke to foreigners living in London that we uncovered a possible answer.
Very quickly, it became apparent that many of the things the Brits regard as normal behaviour was quite the opposite for our foreign friends.
Our love of queuing.
Our willingness to apologise for things we hadn’t done.
Our utter mad response to it being ever-so-slightly warm.
The more we delved, the more we discovered their confusion about our good-natured strangeness.
“Why do you pour a brown liquid over all your food?”
“Why is insulting someone a sign that you like them?”
“How do you work out who has to buy the next round of drinks in a pub?
We found this spirit of eccentricity really interesting so we asked fellow Brits what they thought.
While I remember no one said queuing or apologising or pouring gravy on their food was weird, they did speak in glowing terms about the slightly unhinged – but entirely good natured – spirit of ‘Britishness’, whether that was Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Raving Loony political party [which would still be less mad than the policies Trump is pushing] or the guy who invented a micro-sized, fully-working pistol so he could shoot flies out of the air.
And that is how a British carbonated soft drink stopped being compared to it’s American counterpart and took its place as a fully-fledged member of British culture.
And why am I telling you all this?
Because when I read the article at the very top of this post, it reminded me how wonderful British eccentricity is … even if now, our good natured crazy seems to have manifested itself into small minded, racist bigotry.
God, how I hope the good crazy comes back soon …
32 Comments so far
Leave a comment