Moments of Truth

5 min readAug 7, 2020

In 2005 P&G coined the term “first moment of truth” to describe the importance of packaging in their marketing model.

Back in the beforetime, a friend of mine asked me over dinner in London if I knew about the Lyle’s Golden Syrup logo. I did not …

and was surprised to find out it was a dead lion with a swarm of bees emerging from its carcass.

I went on to discover that it was based on a Biblical story called Samson’s Riddle, that most people had never noticed what it was [friends, Twitter and various news articles validated this] and that, in 2006, Guinness World Records had declared it Britain’s oldest brand.

Beneath the decomposing feline is the tagline “out of the strong came forth sweetness”, which is an old saying derived from the aforementioned story.

The Original

Also, lion sounds a bit like Lyle, so there’s that.

I was reminded of this whilst in a French supermarket. I adore exploring foreign grocers as an alien anthropologist might: to understand why the layouts are as they are, what brands are the same or different. There is always at least one insightful realization, one moment where the strange suddenly becomes familiar, or vice versa.

On this particular occasion, Rosie pointed out some interesting looking beer packaging, all colorful cartoons with names like “Wood will fall down”, “Stick a finger in the soil”, and “Hair in the mailbox.”

I snapped a photo and fired off a Tweet musing out loud what it might mean and almost immediately was informed that they were all Danish expressions and that Mikkeller made good beer. [They are also making the alcohol free beer for Burger King, good for them.]

Beer packaging seems to have undergone something of a renaissance in the wake of the craft beer explosion. Whatever you think about the Beavertown, the eye-catching illustration style is a key part of their brand [and signaling] value, which Heineken recently bought into…




Hello! I'm Faris. I'm looking for the awesome. Founder/Genius Steals. Itinerant Strategist//Speaker. Author of Paid Attention.