Food and memories

Some people were not happy recently over Cadbury Roses. All the different chocolates now come in the same shape of wrapper.

There are many people on social media who were very annoyed by this. One comment I noticed on Twitter even described the wrappers as “the work of Satan himself”. Another said: “Cannot fully describe horror at new wrappers. Sad to see iconic brand being destroyed.”

It is the second time in just a few months that a long-established chocolate brand has attracted consumer ire, after Toblerone changed the distance between its peaks.

Let’s be honest – these complaints are first world problems. But even so, when brands change things, or a beloved product is discontinued, people get upset all the same. So, it’s worth asking – why?

I think it’s to do with memory. All your life is marked by shapes, sounds, colours, tastes, smells, people, events and experiences. All sorts of things stick in the mind. Things that might even be forgotten about completely then come to front of mind unexpectedly years later. Those things will differ for every one of us.

The marketing of confectionery plays with these emotions.

Why does one person buy a KitKat? Or a Mars? Or a Boost? Or a Picnic? Why do some people (I’m one of them) prefer Quality Street over Roses? Or vice-versa? Or another brand?

It’s partly because people just like what they like. But partly, too, I think it’s because the marketing of all these products plays (sometimes consciously, often more subtly) on those deep-seated memories and emotions.

Those emotions are not just related to the product itself but those far more evocative memories and feelings about shapes, sounds, colours, tastes, smells, people, events and experiences.

And this, maybe, is why people get upset when established brands change things round too much.

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