I was a Marathon man. Not saying that I disliked Mars, but if there was a showdown at high noon between the two, I’d be hoping for Marathon to fire the fatal shot that sends Mars falling face-down on the dusty road. Visit William Hill bookmakers and you’ll probably find that Marathon would be outright favourite for winning the showdown. Dare I say, Marathon was more likeable. My consumption ratio during the 1980s was about 10-to-1 in favour of Marathon. I was appalled when Marathon changed its name to Snickers, but, let’s say if Mars changed its name to Plutonium, I really wouldn’t be that bothered.
The thing that Mars had me hooked on, had me believing, was that it was helpful in getting me to work, rest, and play. I did find Mars bars a tad on the sweet side, but after I’d munched it down, and after the initial feeling of sloppy, sweet cement landing in my stomach, I actually felt quite energetic. Sprinting down the street became that bit easier; the football had that extra zip when my foot connected; it came in handy on a Friday evenings when I’d dash home from college then head straight off to do my part-time shift at the in-store bakery. To finish off the Mars strapline jigsaw, I’d rest like someone who’d overdosed on sleeping pills. At the time, during the 80s, I thought all credit was due to the Mars bar, but looking back, was it all in my head? Was the work, rest and play strapline a bit of marketing trickery? Did I fall into a deep sleep just because I was just completely shattered? Who knows …
There was no fooling around when it came to the advertising: the way they, Mars, showed the creamy flowing milk, plentiful amounts of energy-giving glucose, abundant free-flowing sugar, and no holding back with the thick chocolate – all wholesome ingredients going into the bar – maybe these ingredients added substance to the thought behind the work, rest and play slogan?
I can’t recall the last time I saw a Mars bar advert on TV, but I believe work, rest and play has been toned-down over the years, and, after doing a brief bit of research on the tube (YouTube), the slogan winning appears in recent adverts. Did the advertising police get to them and demand scientific evidence and a factual dossier (comparable in size to the original Yellow Pages) about their bold work, rest, and play statement? Still, at least Mars has managed to hold on to its original name, so take that Marathon! Maybe, just maybe, the odds at William Hill will be more even than originally thought – I might even put a cheeky fiver on Mars.
The Milk Tray Man, mouthfuls of Angel Delight, smashing Smash Hits magazine, splashing it all over with Brut aftershave, World of Sport or Grandstand? A fat wallet or your flexible friend the Access Card? Could you survive a term at Grange Hill? Nostalgia with enough clout to send you flying back to the 80s and 70s in the hardback book Section N Underpass. Click image below to get the rundown:
Watch the Mars a day advert by clicking the image below: