The Quatro conundrum

WE’VE seen products come and go: the Sinclair C5 appeared in 1985 then went into receivership during the same year! Computer giant Commodore launched the Commodore 16 computer in 1984; this was the intended upgrade to the Vic 20 and younger brother to the C64 – sadly it hovered and disappeared without stamping its authority like the other two siblings.

Lilt and 7UP were advertised heavily during the 80s and are still going. Launched in 1982 with its futuristic looking branding, Quatro seemed to be a big hit with consumers. The name, Quatro, was a reflection of the flavours contained: pineapple, passionfruit, orange and grapefruit. The fact that the drink had the same-sounding name as one of Audi’s flagship cars wasn’t an issue (Quatro vs. Quattro) – in fact it may have added to the drink’s cool, futuristic image. 1982 was also a time when there was a light-scattering of home computers on the market: ZX81, C64 and the Vic 20. The Quatro logo kind-of fitted-in with the new technological advancements and its font had a tad of Krypton Factor style. The drink itself was quite pleasant in taste. All good so far.

Things got even better when the memorable 1985 television advert hit our screens; it was an advert that suggested even with a malfunction occuring during making the drink, “It’s a miracle but we’ve made it“. In my eyes, Quatro was a popular drink.

A year later in 1986, Quatro had gone! It’s was like a magician had waved their wand and poof, gone, never to be seen again. This is where my conundrum comes in: why would such a popular drink just disappear into thin air? Maybe I just thought Quatro was popular but it really wasn’t. Maybe there was some truth in the 1985 advert: during its production, a malfunction occurred but the result was actually a decent tasting product? Maybe the malfunction was more serious than initially thought? Maybe Fido Dido had more pulling-power and helped push Quatro out of the market? Maybe Quatro was a bit too similar to the drink with the totally tropical taste, Lilt. My conundrum is never-ending; I also have the same conundrum with the chocolate bar 5-4-3-2-1. It’s a conundrum that will never be quashed unless the bosses, brand managers or ex-employees with inside-knowledge decide to let the cat out of the bag.


Enjoyed the blog? A nostalgic collection of blogs featuring a fun and factual look back at British advertising, leisure and entertainment from the 70s and 80s are featured in the new hardback book, Section N Underpass. Get the rundown here by clicking the front cover below:

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