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Classic TV & film retrospectives from Alastair's personal movie collection.

Only Smarties have the answer

Only Smarties have the answer

I miss old Smarties. Or, to be more accurate, I miss the old packaging. Sure, the colours of smarties have changed over the years, especially after Nestlé decided to remove all artificial colourings in 2006 resulting in a temporary two year absence of blue smarties, but it's the original packaging used in the 80s & 90s that I miss most. I know this will fly over the heads of my international audience, but those of you from the UK will already know exactly what I'm talking about. 

This:

smarties_tube.jpg

When I was a wee lad, Smarties was owned by Rowntree and the tubes were round. They were later made by Nestlé and they kept the round tubes for a long time until bastardizing them in 2004 with the packaging that we have today;

smarties_bastardization.jpg

I mean seriously, what the shit is this? Apparently Nestlé's reasoning for the hexagonal design was that they wanted to make the brand "fresh and appealing" to youngsters. But that's bullcrap because they did away with the one thing that made them so appealing to kids in the first place; they removed the lids and therefore de-weaponised them!

lids

You see, each tube came with a plastic lid. The lids had a letter of the alphabet printed on them and came in a variety of colours. The intended use for them was so that they could be used as a learning aid to help teach kids to recognise letters and use them to spell things out. It's even reached a point whereby they're now considered collectors items.

But the best thing about the lids was that once a tube was empty, you could re-attach the lid, rest the tube across the palm of your hand, and then smack your other fist down upon it, shooting the lid across the room. They were essentially mini weapons, but weren't strong enough to be considered dangerous.

I still remember the uproar in the UK over the change in packaging, and to this day, I still miss it. There was something just so fun about being able to shoot the lids out like that.

Then I moved to Canada and discovered that their packaging is totally different in a way I couldn't even comprehend. I mean, look at them; they're in a flat box!

When I asked my friend Lisa if they ever had tubes, she said that they have always been this way and looked at me in complete confusion as to why they'd be in anything other than a box.

I've lived in Canada for almost a year now, and I still can't get my head around them being in a box. Something just doesn't feel right about it, and more than ever it makes me miss the tubes of old.

To make matters even more confusing, my housemate is American. For those of you who don't already know, America has a completely different type of product called Smarties. Those of you in the UK will know them as Rockets, which are just larger and less fizzy/sherberty versions of Fizzers.

But most of all, if there was ever one thing about British Smarties that was cool and made you excited about buying Smarties, it was when they ran their special edition purple "Cool Dude" Smarties. The box had a purple lid and the purple smarties had black shades and a smiley face printed on them. And, if that wasn't cool enough, if you collected 8 tokens you could even send off for your own pair of wrap-around shades that came in a tin with a keyring. I still remember how excited I was to receive mine.

They were bloody amazing and it was, by far, the best era ever for Smarties.

Mighty Max

Mighty Max

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