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Lyle's Golden Syrup: Why was the logo a dead lion and why has it been changed?

The new Lyle’s Golden Syrup packaging (Tate and Lyle/PA)
The new Lyle’s Golden Syrup packaging (Tate and Lyle/PA)

Whether it is your favourite pancake topper or you save it for flapjacks porridge or cake baking, Lyle’s Golden Syrup is a British staple.

The golden sweet treat has been a favourite for over a century and, because of its popularity, there has been no real reason to change anything – until now. But fear not syrup lovers, because it is only the branding that is being given an overhaul.

Lyle’s Golden Syrup has replaced its logo of a dead lion being swarmed by bees with an apparently happier animal and a single bee in its first rebrand since 1883.

The product’s green tin and golden lion packaging was launched in 1881 and holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s oldest unchanged brand packaging, having remained essentially identical since 1883.

But what was the previous logo and why is it being given a makeover?

Here is all we know.

Why did the logo feature a dead lion?

The original design was the idea of the product’s founder, Scottish businessman Abraham Lyle, who decided to have a Christian theme on the tins.

The Book of Judges details Samson killing a lion with his bare hands before returning to the carcass a few days later to find a swarm of bees had created a hive in its body. In the story, Samson then took honey from the hive and fed it to his parents without telling them where he got the honey from.

He later asks guests at his wedding to solve the riddle: “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.”

A line from the riddle: “Out of the strong came forth sweetness” was chosen to be part of the logo of Lyle’s Golden Syrup, and has remained on the tins ever since.

Why has the logo been changed?

Lyle’s said the branding has been “revitalised for the modern UK family” in a move to “refresh the brand’s legacy to appeal to a 21st century audience”.

The rebrand will take place across the full product range, excluding the classic tin, which will retain the original illustration.

James Whiteley, brand director for Lyle’s Golden Syrup, said: “We’re excited to unveil a fresh redesign for the Lyle’s Golden Syrup brand. “While we’ll continue to honour our original branding with the heritage tin, consumers need to see brands moving with the times and meeting their current needs.

“Our fresh, contemporary design brings Lyle’s into the modern day, appealing to the everyday British household while still feeling nostalgic and authentically Lyle’s.”