St Ivel Gold: deadly serious advertising and the Spandau Ballet disconnection

WHATEVER happened to St Ivel Gold, the spread that was heavily advertised during the 1980s that contained half the fat of margarine? St Ivel Gold eventually went the same way as the once popular soft drink, Quatro, and the chocolate bar, 54321, disappearing into thin air. Whilst the advertising for Quatro was futuristic, and 54321 was catchy, St Ivel Gold sounded rather serious to a point of being brutal.

If you don’t buy St Ivel Gold, you’re dead; if you do but it, you’re dead; if you’re deciding whether or not to buy it, you’re dead!

One particular St Ivel Gold advert, which involved a Bruce Lee type character chopping a piece of wood in half with his bare hands, had me wondering: what on earth were the advertising team thinking? I totally get it that they were trying to reinforce the fact that the spread had half the fat of margarine, but with that high level of seriousness, it may have told a lot of potential consumers to stay away.

After rewatching the advert, my take on it is as follows:

1. St Ivel Gold is not into small talk and it does not want you to be their friend… bugger off!

2. The narrator is grabbing you round the neck and pinning you against the wall whilst sternly telling you to eat St Ivel Gold.

3. You’re going to get seriously smashed-up!

4. If I catch you buying margarine, I’m going to chop you in half like that piece of wood.

5. If you don’t buy St Ivel Gold, you’re dead; if you do buy it, you’re dead; if you’re deciding whether or not to buy it, you’re dead!

I wonder what the real reason was for St Ivel Gold’s disappearance from the supermarket shelves? To be honest, the advertising witnessed is not a million miles off the tone of a straight-talking killer. Did an advert for a spread really need to sound as cold as Michael Caine in Get Carter?

It’s safe to say that the advertising for Gold did not have the same inspirational feeling as the Spandau Ballet hit song: whereas Tony Hadley gave us encouragement, St Ivel warned us with lines which could have sounded like ‘I am Gold, always believe in my soul, I have the power to know, I’m gonna smash you up!’

St Ivel Gold is gone – probably because it was far too risky for many potential consumers, especially the ones who want to live to see another day.

Remember when Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks threw their weight around the wrestling ring? A time when the Milk Tray Man secretly delivered chocolates. Mr Kipling made exceedingly good cakes but what was your favourite? Fun, straplines and nostalgic photos in the hardback book, Section N Underpass, a nostalgic trip reliving advertising, leisure and entertainment from the 70s and 80s – fiction with loads of interesting facts. Get your copy below:


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Reminisce on the chop-you-in-halve advert by clicking the video below

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