Golden Syrup logo: Tate and Lyle's lion redesign explained, logo meaning - why is there a dead lion on logo?

(Images: Lyle's Golden Syrup/PA Wire)(Images: Lyle's Golden Syrup/PA Wire)
(Images: Lyle's Golden Syrup/PA Wire) | Lyle's Golden Syrup/PA Wire
Which design do you prefer?

In its first rebranding since 1883, Lyle's Golden Syrup has introduced a new logo, shifting away from the longstanding image of a lion surrounded by bees to depict a seemingly happier animal alongside a solitary bee.

The iconic green tin adorned with a golden lion, which originated in 1881, has held the Guinness World Record for the longest-standing unchanged brand packaging. Remarkably, its appearance has remained virtually identical since 1883.

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

But why has the rebrand been made, and did you know what the iconic packaging has really depicted for all of these years? Here is everything you need to know.

What was on the old logo?

The original design, conceptualised by the product's founder, the Scottish businessman Abraham Lyle, incorporated a Christian analogy on the tin, setting the foundation for the enduring visual identity of the brand.

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It showed a dead lion being swarmed by bees. 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 version of the riddle: “Out of the strong came forth sweetness” was chosen for the logo of Lyle’s Golden Syrup, and has remained on the tins ever since.

(Images: Lyle's Golden Syrup/PA Wire)(Images: Lyle's Golden Syrup/PA Wire)
(Images: Lyle's Golden Syrup/PA Wire) | Lyle's Golden Syrup/PA Wire

What does the new design look like?

The new logo shows a seemingly happier - living - animal alongside a solitary bee. 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”.

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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."

The refreshed branding is set to be introduced to various products starting this month and will be progressively implemented throughout the year across retail and food service packaging.

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This includes full-sized bottles, breakfast bottles, dessert toppings, and individual portions of golden syrup. The redesigned logo is already featured on 'squeezy' bottles of Golden Syrup and prominently displayed at the top of the brand's website.

Why is it controversial?

Some commenters have responded to the rebrand with snark and mockery, with one saying the redesign was aimed at "the avocado-on-toast generation."

Robert Bargery, Executive Director of the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust, told MailOnline: "A successful brand with a solid reputation probably has more to lose than gain by going for a new logo.

"The redrawn lion is so stylised as to lack clarity at first glance, whereas the old lion is clearly a lion: it is what it looks like on the tin.

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"But who knows, Golden Syrup may soon be as stigmatised as cigarettes, so the lively re-brand of a dead lion may excite a sugar-rush among the avocado-on-toast generation."

Ian Mansfield, who runs the ianVisits website, tweeted: "And in the Gospel of St Marketing, the peoples of the land of kitchen, having worshipped the everlasting sign of the Golden Syrup, shall turn unto a new god, a new logo is revealed, and great lamentation was heard throughout the land. Oh, syrup, why hast thou forsaken us?"

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