Saga of Beefy Bovril Back on Shelves

It is always a good idea to remember the lessons of brand-killing mistakes. While most know the case of New Coke, there are other products that have returned because of consumer pressure.

One fan sites relating to a bad decision is Bovril. In 2004, Unilever removed beef from the product and made it a yeast-derived vegetable product akin to Vegemite. While it happened during the mad cow scare and was understandable, Unilever’s reaction was wrong. Customers got upset; they realized that there might be something political.

The correct action whenever a product is threatened is not to kill off the old product and replace it with a new one. Fan Graeme Andrew Stickings put the idea up on his website, consumers rallied, and soon Bovril was back. I quote the Bring Back Bovril site:

“I was not opposed in principal to a veggie Bovril, I just wanted a beef version back. Anyhue, I have my pot of British Beefy Bovril, so all is right with the world.

All is right with the world. That is the phrase that consumers think when a product they love returns. This feeling of goodwill not only extends to consumers, it goes right to the company that made the mistake. Macy’s needs to heed this lesson; folks are still angry about Marshall Field’s, but if they admit the mistake, consumer love (and maybe, dare we suggest stockholder confidence… ???) will flow back to the once-beloved company.

Here, is a list of a few brands that have responded to consumer pressure,

  • Wispa candy bar
  • Nabisco Crown Pilot Crackers
  • Coca-Cola
  • Save Twinings Earl Grey. This is a fascinating website. There is a discrepancy about Twinings, and whether the Earl Grey formula was changed in the U.S. market.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

1 Comment

  1. This is Graeme Stickings here, you may want to revise the link to my Bovril site as thanks to the mighty Beeb, who had been hosting this site the plug is being pulled on all Beeb internet account at the end of June 2008. The new link to the whole Bovril site is here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *