A Sweet Rebrand With A Sticky Response: An Updated Brand Identity for Lyle’s Golden Syrup

Category

Branding

Read Time

4 min

Published

05 March, 2024

Before we jump into this rebrand, we want to make one thing absolutely clear for all of you die-hard golden syrup fans out there:

The classic green tins of Lyle’s Golden Syrup which have been produced by the company since the late 19th century, remain unchanged.

This rebrand involves the squeezy bottles, alongside some desert variations of the syrup in a strategic effort to modernise the household name whilst maintaing a sense of authenticity and originality.

Striking the right balance between appealing to a 21st century consumer whilst retaining your brand roots is always going to be tricky territory, so let’s find out how they did it.

black and white logo for  Lyle's Golden Syrup
Credit to Lyle’s Golden Syrup

The Brand’s History

The branding for Lyle’s Golden Syrup holds an important place in the minds and hearts of consumers, taking the title of the oldest unchanged brand packaging.

This has been confirmed by the Guinness World Records, so it’s easy to see why any sort of rebrand has sparked such controversy and upset.

The old emblem features a dead lion surrounded by a hive of bees and a tagline that doesn’t make much sense if you don’t know the brand’s history.

So if you’re sitting here thinking eh how does this all relate to syrup, let’s take the brand back to its origin.

Lyle’s Golden Syrup was founded by Abram Lyle, a Scottish businessman who began selling the treacly syrup way back in the 1880s. According to the company, the logo and tagline were heavily influenced by Lyles’ religious beliefs which is why the tin depicts strongman Samson’s ‘lion and bees’ from the Old Testament of the Bible.

An interpretation of the quote reading, “Out of the strong came forth sweetness” has accompanied the lion carcass ever since.

golden syrup squeezy bottle on yellow background
Credit to Lyle’s Golden Syrup

Adding a Modern Twist

Not only has the religious quote been removed during the rebrand but so has the dead lion, which I’m quite pleased about!

Instead, a more simple and abstract version of the lion will feature alongside a single bee to retain the connection with the original brand story.

According to James Whiteley, Brand Director at Lyle’s Golden Syrup said:

We’re confident that the fresh new design will make it easier for consumers to discover Lyle’s as an affordable, everyday treat while reestablishing the brand as the go-to syrup brand for the modern UK family.

It’s a considered effort to ensure the original branding is honoured, especially considering how much brand equity it has, whilst adapting to the needs of a modern consumer.

We must emphasise that this new visual identity will not affect the iconic green tins as these will continue to feature the lion carcass illustration and religious quote.
squeeze bottle of golden syrup
Credit to Dezeen

Taking the Brand Forward

Naturally any change to an established, household name draws a lot of attention and in this case a lot of controversy, with some calling the updated logo “feeble and wooly”.

It’s even received backlash from the Church of England who have questioned if there is any place for Christians in the UK. They’ve gone as far as saying they hope the brand will rethink their new logo adding that there is nothing modern about ditching or sidelining Christian messaging.

This led the brand to apologising for any upset, confirming that religion “played no part” in the update.

The new packaging will be rolled out across the brand’s squeezy bottles, dessert toppings and portion packs starting this month.

We asked our Brand Designer, Will Storer, what his thoughts were on the rebrand:

Overall, I believe that Lyle’s Golden Syrup rebrand is a positive move, signalling the brand’s ability to change with the times, which is an important aspect for any brand. However, it is quite a big leap. While the new design is more in keeping with today’s market, I think it should have retained some of the original art deco style features and the colour palette. This would have helped bridge the gap, aligning the two packs more seamlessly and preserved the brand’s origin.

Hi, I'm Amy, Content Strategist at Canny. In my day-to-day role, I'm responsible for creating content that gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the competition. Naturally, I love writing and creating engaging copy that brings your brand to life.

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