Replacing lost energy

I’ve been meaning to blog for months about the Lucozade sign which graces the raised section of the M4 as it comes into London, restored after a gap of six years. It was a fine example of ’50s neon advertising, but was taken down when Lucozade’s owner, Glaxo SmithKline, sold its former site by the M4, once the Lucozade factory.

The original is now in the Gunnersbury Museum, and the building it used to be attached to has been demolished, but a replica has found a home near to the former location, following a campaign by local residents.

Of course, for people of my age, Lucozade is either an iconic childhood brand or a triumph of reinvention. When the sign first went up, you drank Lucozade only when sick, which explains why it originally read ‘Lucozade aids recovery’. By the time the drink started appearing in clubbers’ backpacks in the late ’80s (the perfect accompaniment to ‘Es’, if not Wizz), the spread of HIV meant that it needed to be updated. At least that was how I remembered it. But it seems there’s something blurry about Lucozade and memory. It turns out that Ogilvy & Mather had rebranded Lucozade in 1983, before the clubbing boom, shifting it away from ‘recovery’ to ’empowerment’, or some such brandspeak. And rewritten the sign as a result.

The picture at the top of this post was taken by Peter Curry. It is published here under a Creative Commons licence.

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