When I heard that the name for the new variant of Vegemite was “iSnack 2.0″, it took me a little while to understand that it wasn’t a joke. The new variant is basically 30% Vegemite and 70% cream cheese, but apparently it deserved a revolutionary new name.
Although I am horrified at the thought of a breakfast spread that includes not only punctuation but numbers in its name, there seems to be historical precedent for this sort of crazy naming. Here’s what Wikipedia says..
- Just like the new variant was named following a national naming competition, the original was named following a similar competition back in 1922.
- Just like the new name is extremely derivate of popular products on the market, the original name was derived from the popular spread Marmite that was shipped to Australia from 1919.
Although, Vegemite wasn’t always called Vegemite. From 1928 to 1935 it was sold as Parwill, in order to work with a marketing slogan of “Marmite but Parwill” (get it?). Obviously, the product name was changed back when the marketing didn’t work. So, if history continues to repeat, perhaps iSnack 2.0 will be given a less ridiculous name once the marketing people wise up. We can only hope.
Tags: Australia, history, isnack, marmite, name, vegemite
Melburnians seem to take their chocolate heritage for granted. I still find it amazing, and while I still do, I want to jot it down here.
Both Melbourne citizens and Australians in general are fans of chocolate. According to IBISWorld, chocolate and confectionery in Australia is a $2.5b per year industry. If we look at Nielsen’s list of the top confectionery sold in convenience stores during the year to February 2009 by share of value, the top chocolate bars (candy bars, for US readers) were:
- Mars 2Pak 80g
- Snickers 2Pak 80g
- Cherry Ripe 85g
- Mars Bar 65g
- Twirl Bar Kingsize 63g
- Snickers 60g
- Kit Kat 45g
- Boost 80g
- Turkish Delight Twin 76g
- Cherry Ripe 55g
I’m listing these to highlight an interesting fact. However, we need to examine where each of these chocolate bars were invented:
Yep, the Cherry Ripe holds two of the top ten places for chocolate bar sales, and it was invented in Melbourne. (All the rest come from three places: US, UK and Ireland.)
Noted Melburnian Sir Macpherson Robertson (1859 – 1945) founded the MacRobertson’s chocolate company which, according to Wikipedia, was responsible for the Cherry Ripe, Freddo Frog, Bertie Beetle and Snack. The chocolate company was sold to Cadbury-Schweppes, and the Ringwood-based factory continues to this day. Sadly, they don’t offer any public tours.
The MacRobertson name no longer appears on the Cherry Ripe wrapper, but it does live on in Melbourne through a highschool, a bridge, and the building of the National Herbarium of Victoria.
- Are you ready for a Fling™? (friendseat.com)
- Candy Cars (candycraft.muxgo.com)
Tags: Australia, cherry ripe, chocolate, confectionery, history, macrobertson, mars bar, melbourne, snickers
I’ve had some kind of public presence on the Internet since the mid 1990s, but the first website of mine that I ever intentionally directed people to was on a service called GeoCities. GeoCities was like the MySpace of its day – it seemed like all the ugliest personal webpages were on GeoCities, but was somehow one of the top 5 most popular sites on the net. Then it was taken over by a mainstream site, Yahoo!, and languished until this year when (ten years after they bought it) Yahoo! announced they were shutting GeoCities down.
Some would say good riddance. However, in about two months, this link to my very own ugly personal webpage will stop working. It’s a little sad. And the news that it will be gone from the interwebs is a little sad, too. But, to be honest, I moved on from GeoCities long ago, and a website or two later, have been running a blog on my own domain since 2006.
Anyway, with this nostalgic thought in my mind, I started to reflect on why exactly was I running a blog. I don’t really consider myself a “blogger”. I’m not doing this to develop material for a book, generate advertising income, build a global readership, or promote my company / my product / myself. As this is a personal site, my reasons are personal.
Firstly, my immediate family is spread over four cities (the others are more than 2,000kms away from here), and my friends are dispersed even wider. I write a blog (and use services like Flickr and Facebook) as a way to reach out to them. If they were here with me in person, I would happily chat to them about any of the things that I’ve written on my blog. I hope they are reading, although in reality most probably aren’t. They are the main audience.
Secondly, I enjoy indulging in a regular creative process. I’m not coding much these days, or doing any singing, so it’s nice to be able to sit down, about once a week, and simply write. Some of my blog posts, I’ve recycled into speeches or used the blog as a sounding board for ideas that I’ve had. The act of writing something down helps crystalise it. Also, having created something is its own joy – the world now has something in it that it didn’t have before. Some of my obscure posts (such as my IKEA hinge one) have been read by people I’ve never heard of, and I like to think that maybe they have been helped by the existence of those posts.
Lastly, the whole blog itself is an experiment and a way for me to learn about the technologies behind blogging. As someone working in technology, I want to stay current with important web technologies. Hence, I’ve developed a blog plugin for writing reviews using a technology called microformats, and added plugins to the blog for OpenID, advertising, analytics, and Twitter. As new technologies emerge, I will probably try them out on here somewhere.
Given the above, I don’t expect that I’ll be doing anything like giving up the blog for Facebook. I enjoy blogging, and I know there are others who do also.
However, it’s not something I do freely, with wild abandon. The fact that my ugly site of ten year’s ago can still be retrieved from the Internet Archive serves to illustrate that words on the web can be considered permanent. I am forced to recognise that future friends, employers, colleagues and even my own child can one day retrieve anything I’ll write, if they so wish.
Hopefully in ten year’s time, I won’t be so embarrassed by the content on my website. But if history’s anything to go by, it’s rather likely.
Tags: blog, blogging, GeoCities, web, website, why