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Vision Logo Circle

Christian Oldest Brand Design Canned

by | Thu, Feb 29 2024

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A British brand of golden syrup that was founded by a devout Christian has removed all Bible references on most of its packaging, that had lasted for 140-years, holding the Guinness World Record for the world’s oldest unchanged brand packaging.

Presbyterian church elder Abram Lyle was inspired by his faith when he designed the Lyle’s Golden Syrup tin. It featured a green and gold lion surrounded by a swarm of bees — in reference to the story of Samson and the lion. It was accompanied by a Biblical quote from Judges 14:14 saying: Out of the strong came forth sweetness.

Now the lion, the bees and the quote have gone from its squeeze bottles although there is still an impression of a lion’s head. It had been the world’s oldest brand design after being first introduced in the 1880s. Tate & Lyle Sugars, which owns Lyle’s Golden Syrup, said the design has been “revitalised for the modern UK family” in a move to “refresh the brand’s legacy to appeal to a 21st century audience.” However, the original green tin will still be available as a limited heritage product.

Some Christians accuse the company of trying to erase the product’s connection to its Christian founder. A descendant of Abram Lyle said the change continued a depressing tradition of unnecessary re-designs. Graham Nicholls, director of the church network Affinity, told Premier Christian News: “Even those who are not anti-Christian are so afraid to offend that I think anything that suggests We’re going to be less exclusive now would be embraced.” He added that he believes the symbol has changed primarily because it is a Christian product and the company wants its product “to be used by the widest number of people.”

Sam Margrave, a member of Anglican General Synod, told The Telegraph: “There is nothing modern about ditching tradition or sidelining Christian messaging. I enjoy Golden Syrup with my pancakes on Shrove Tuesday every year. I am sure the Lyle business doesn’t mind benefiting from sales and Christian branding every Easter, so why do they feel the need to eradicate their connection with their Christian founder’s iconic logo which tells a story that works for every generation? Did they ask anyone if they were offended by Christian messages?”

The company has apologised for causing any offence and maintains that the modernisation of the logo had nothing to do with wanting to get rid of the historic Christian element. Gerald Mason, Senior Vice President of Tate & Lyle Sugars said: “Religion played absolutely no part in our decision to try something different on our syrup bottles. It makes me sad that we might have unwittingly upset people today, and I want to apologise for that.” He stressed the syrup will still be available in a tin with the original design.

Australian-based pastor and Christian blogger David Robertson writes: “It is easy to mock and point out that no one came to faith because of seeing an obscure Bible verse on a syrup tin, but that misses the point. This story is just one piece in a thousand-piece jigsaw which illustrates how branded, bland and unbiblical Britain is becoming. Replacing the ‘real’ lion with a cute cuddly lion’s head may sound great to a marketing generation reared on Disney, but it’s so boring.”

“I note in passing that when real Christianity thrives, so does real creativity. But Bland Britain is also going strong too. We can’t have any real diversity here. Everything must fit into the design mantras the marketing people tell us work – all within the bounds of the current ideology. We should pause and ask how we have gone from a culture where a biblical verse and story on a product was normal, to one where no such thing would be even considered feasible. It seems the only biblical symbol permitted in modern Britain is the culturally misappropriated rainbow!” he observed.