Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The rise and fall of Sunny Delight

It's some time at the end of the 90s. You get home from school on a Friday afternoon, dump your rucksack in the hallway, get super excited when you remember there's double Simpsons on tonight then dash to the fridge where there's this week's new bottle of Sunny Delight waiting for you.

There was even two different flavours: Florida style and California style.

This Sunny Delight, it was some sort of super drink. You couldn't believe how good it tasted and your old folks couldn't believe how good it was for you. I mean it actually got you drinking something resembling orange juice that apparently had vitamins and other stuff that was supposed to be healthy. Hmmm. Sounds too good to be true...

Sunny Delight advert from 1998:

Turned out it was too good to be true. WAAAY too good. For starters (and this is NOTHING compared to what's next), it somehow came out that this 'healthy' beverage was actually only 5% juice. Yes, 5%. Which obviously meant that the other 95% was food colouring, sugar and a load of other extremely unhealthy rubbish. In fact, one glass of Sunny Delight had the same amount of sugar as a can of Coke. No wonder it tasted so good.

This really wasn't Sunny Delight's year. You see, around the same time as these revelations were coming out, some poor, poor four year old girl in Wales was very publicly admitted to hospital following being turned a 'yellow colour' by consuming too much Sunny Delight. Seriously. Apparently the kid had been drinking 1.5 litres a day of the stuff which is about seven and a half glasses. Perhaps her parents had a tap which poured Sunny Delight instead of water? Wasn't this kind of lifestyle expensive?

Anyway, the yellow colouring she turned was all due to all the beta carotene in the drink. Beta carotene is a pro vitamin A which is found in low doses in vegetables such as carrots and produces their orange colour. Every glass of Sunny Delight contained 120 micrograms of beta carotene which is around 30% of the recommended daily intake for an adult. However, since the girl was drinking seven and a half glasses a day, she would have been consuming over twice as much of the recommended daily intake for an adult, never mind for a child. And this excessive consumption of beta carotene can lead to yellowing of the skin. So this meant, shock horror, it could happen to you too.

A spokesperson for Procter and Gamble (Sunny Delight's owners) obviously desperate for the company to save face reassured everyone that the colour change wasn't really anything to do with Sunny Delight, as it could also happen if a person ate too much carrot juice and was only temporary anyway, as a person's colour would go back to normal in a couple of weeks. Clearly they were clutching at straws here.

Looks healthy enough to me.
You'd think all this was bad enough, but then just to top it all off the new Sunny Delight advert came out, a Christmas themed one featuring two snowmen who turned a yellowy orange colour. Talk about badly timed.

Not surprisingly, by 2001 sales had halved and Sunny Delight went from the third bestselling drink in the UK to the forty second. The marketers were so desperate to top up the plummeting sales that at some point they recruited S Club 7 (shame on them!) to star in their adverts:

None of this worked and Procter and Gamble completely gave up on the product in 2003 and sold it on. It was then relaunched and remarketed as Sunny D. The product has in fact had quite a few relaunches over the years with the marketers trying out new adverts, slogans and even changing the ingredients. At one point they even changed the juice content to 70% (so it was actually healthy this time, not just fake healthy). However profits could never reach anywhere near what they once did.

Sunny Delight during its 'Sunny D' phase.

Even after all that through the years Sunny Delight is somehow still going today and it's actually called Sunny Delight again! I was really curious to find out what it tastes and looks like now. Would it be as delicious and yellow and amazing as I remembered from back in 1999? Well first off, it's pretty hard to get hold of these days. Don't try health shops they do NOT stock it, only a couple of supermarket chains seem to do it. I did manage it though:

Sunny Delight in 2012.   
It's very cheap, costing about £1.30 for a whole litre and appears to be targeted at families. It's 15% juice, which is a slight improvement on the 5% from years ago. Sadly, it doesn't smell like it once did. Do you remember that amazing sugary orangery smell? OK, credit where credit's due, it does smell like that but only a teeny, tiny fraction of what it used too. And as far as taste goes, it doesn't have that Sunny Delight magic any more. It just tastes like a run of the mill orange soft drink. So not bad I suppose, just not the Sunny Delight I remember.

They also seem to be really pushing the whole idea that the drink has no added sugar, is rich in vitamin C and doesn't have any artificial sweeteners, flavours or preservatives in. Perhaps a healthy alternative to other soft drinks for the kids at a low cost? Sounds a little too good to be true I think...

Check out my other post Whatever happened to BN biscuits?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

90s songs that haven't got old yet

It doesn't matter how much you love or hate the 90s, the fact of the matter is that 90s music rules. Every one of these songs is very, very 90s, whether it was on a movie soundtrack, by an iconic band or by a not very good band who made quite a nice cheesy song that everyone liked (and still likes) to dance too. 90s songs seem to have some sort of magical power to never get old and rubbish, and provide a safe nostalgic couple of minutes for us 90s kids.

There are SO many songs I could have chosen from, but I've somehow managed to narrow it down to fifteen (and in no particular order either, I couldn't possibly choose). For me, these 90s songs haven't got old yet, probably never will, and I'm pretty sure they'll be on my iPod (or one click away on youtube) for a good while.

Under the Bridge- Red Hot Chili Peppers

One of their best songs and also inspired a pretty good cover version by All Saints.

Don't Speak- No Doubt

Catchy but not cheesy, allegedly written about a break up between two band members and a video featuring Gwen Stefani rockin' a lot of polka dots. Love it.

Coffee and TV- Blur

Classic britpop favourites Blur and the cutest lost milk cartoon you've ever seen.

Don’t Look Back in Anger- Oasis

More amazing britpop from Oasis at their peak.

S Club Party- S Club 7

It's S Club 7! I don't need to say any more than that.

Truly Madly Deeply- Savage Garden

Everyone in the world probably knows the lyrics to this. Good, they should do.

My Favourite Game- The Cardigans

You know those Greatest Road Trip Music Ever! type albums? This should be on every one. Also, I wouldn't mind driving around a Californian desert in a convertible.

Come As You Are- Nirvana

You can't have a list like this without a bit of Nirvana on it. Plus, this is one of their best songs.

Creep- Radiohead

Another one everyone knows the lyrics too. Also, RADIOHEAD!!!

Bittersweet Symphony-The Verve

Watch the video! The main bloke walks down the street bumping into everyone and they get really annoyed but he just pretends they're not there.

Black Hole Sun- Soundgarden

If you've never heard this song before, please do it now coz it's really, really good.

Alive- Pearl Jam

Some more grunge. Grunge was the best.

Learn to Fly- Foo Fighters

Not only is the song pretty good, the video is HILARIOUS.

Ironic- Alanis Morissette

She may have got the meaning of the word 'ironic' wrong, but this is still a lovely little song. Plus, Alanis rules.

Buddy Holly- Weezer

I love this because it's like they're in Happy Days with The Fonz.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

10 things I learnt about high school from 90s teen movies.

I don't know about you, but when I was younger I would watch tv shows or movies and believe that what happened on screen was pretty much exactly how things really were in the real world. This was clearly either wishful thinking or just plain stupidity (place your bets now). So when the late 90s rolled around with all those American teen comedies (She's All That, Never Been Kissed, 10 Things I Hate About You to name just a few...) and I was almost about to go to high school and was wondering what it would be like, I looked to them to show me the way...

10 things I learnt about high school from 90s teen movies

1) Despite being between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, everyone will look twenty five.

This lot were 17, believe it or not!

2) There will be a group of cool kids. These will include a 'popular jock', a 'nasty cheerleader', a 'cocky blonde guy', 'the cruelest girl in school' and a 'token black guy'.

3) Your high school will look AMAZING. It will be huge and sunlit, even in winter. It will have massive hallways that you can't possibly get squashed in and lockers will adorn the sides. There will be a large green football field and track course outside with bleachers you can sit on and it might even have some of those big artificial light things.

4) There will be cliques of kids who will all look and act exactly the same. You must join a clique. Then you must adopt their ways. You must except that these will be your only friends for the duration of high school. According to that guy in 10 Things I Hate About You these are: the beautiful people, the coffee kids, the white rastas, the cowboys and the future MBAs (smart kids).

That guy knows his stuff.

5) If you aren't a football player, cheerleader or if your parents don't own half of Manhattan, you'll be a loser.

The beautiful people.

6) The school faculty might all be aliens!

If they are, Josh Hartnett will be the only one recruited to save you. Good luck with that.
7) There will be an extremely cool party that you somehow manage to get into. Someone unexpected will dance on a table, people will have enlightened revelations about their lives, someone's parents house will get wrecked and the police will end up breaking the whole thing up.

Even Heath's confused.

8) It will be REALLY easy for anyone at all to impersonate a high school kid, so watch out for that.

           Guess which one's not supposed to be in high school? That's right,
           it's our favourite 25 year old reporter, the fabulous Drew Barrymore.

9) A lot goes on at high school. Everything that is, but school work. You can get away with going only to the odd class, never seeming to do any homework and still get into an ivy league college.

Like this guy apparently.
10) If you wear glasses and have a ponytail, one day someone will give you a makeover that consists of removing your glasses and taking your ponytail out. This will make you instantly prettier and your wildest dreams will come true as Mr-generic-bland-jock-guy aka Freddie Prinze Jr (see above) will now take you to the prom.



The main lesson I should have learnt is that this is not what high school is like. But it is what high school would have been like if I had been in a 90s teen movie.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Titanic. Nothing on earth could come between us, except the fact that I was too young to go and see you in the cinema.

4th April 2012. This date is a massive deal for me. Why? you ask. Why is a random Wednesday that will probably be raining or cloudy, is still ages away from summer is not my birthday such a massive deal?

Well, this is the day that I'll finally get to do something that I so long ago wanted to. This is the day that I thought would never come, that I thought had passed me by and I would never see again...

Yes, that's right. This is the day that Titanic is released in cinemas. And I'm finally old enough to go and see it.

I remember the first time around. It was the beginning of 1998 and I was ten years old. Too young to really appreciate the truly massive hype surrounding the 12 rated film but old enough to want to go. Badly.

No wonder I was so bothered, it was in your face everywhere you went. On breakfast radio before you went to school, in tv adverts when you got home from school. Everyone was talking about it. It's not like I was even invested in it for any particular reason. I was a bit too young (at that point anyway) to be a Leo fangirl and I wasn't a die hard action fan. But what I did know was that this film was being talked about, that it looked epic, and I wanted to go.

So you can imagine how difficult this must have been for a relative of mine, who for some reason was around our house on the night he was due to go and see it. I can't remember much from 1998, it was a long time ago, I was only ten. But I remember this. All through dinner I had been begging, pleading to go with them only to be told something to the effect of, 'We would take you, but it's a 12. You won't get in, then we won't get in and none of us will be able to see it.' I can see their logic now, but as a ten year old kid watching them walk out the door on that cold February school night to see the biggest. film. ever. it didn't seem all that fair. Why couldn't 12As have been invented then?

So, needless to say I didn't get to see Titanic in the cinema. I did however get to see it when it came out on video the next Christmas, when I still wasn't 12, but luckily no one seemed to care. Words cannot describe how much I loved that movie. It gave me nightmares and I didn't sleep that night but it was worth it. I loved Leo and his boyish good looks. I wanted to be Kate. I liked Celine Dion's cheesy song at the end. I wondered why, when they were on the raft at the end, Kate told Leo she would never let go and then she let go of his hand and left him to plummet to the bottom of the ocean. I know he was dead by then, but couldn't she have moved up a bit on the raft before that? Was there really no room at all for Leo?
Watch out Leo! She says she'll never let go...

...but she will!

Anyway, whilst I was lucky enough to see it, I had a friend at school who was about as desperate to see it as I had been. Unfortunately she had to wait all the way until she was actually twelve years old. Her excitement for the film did not die, and one and half years after it hit the big screen, a group of us watched it around her house on the small screen at her twelfth birthday sleepover. She loved it about as much as I did (which was a lot), and we even ended up performing Celine Dion's 'My Heart Will Go On' with her fantastic singing and my clumsy but enthusiastic keyboard playing at a school assembly.

Leo and his curtains.

So this April I'm gonna make like it's 1998 and go and see Titanic in its second release in 3D. I simply have no choice, it would be wrong if I didn't go, like I was betraying Leo and Kate and my ten year old self.