Almost 60 years after its inception, Chewits is still a quintessential staple of the British sweet market. It was helped on its way by the introduction of Chewie the Chewitsaurus, a character who to this day represents the brand and for many brings back beloved childhood memories.
So much so that in recent weeks, the award-winning illustrator, Bill McConkey was reminiscing about the iconic Chewits adverts from the 80s on Twitter, seeing 1.4M views and hundreds of retweets, including Paddy McGuinness. So, why have Chewits lasted this long, here’s the story from how they came about and how the brand has evolved to remain relevant.
Chewits through the ages
Chewits all started back in 1963, when J Arthur Holland’s Toffee company invented ‘Chewie’s’, a softer version of its then popular sweets. Just two years and a quick name change later, Chewits hit stores in its two original flavours — blackcurrant and orange. At the time, Chewits was revolutionising the industry, with nothing else like it available and its unique chewy texture and delicious flavours made them a hit and the brand quickly became a staple of the British confectionery market.
Over time, Chewits has added new flavours such as cherry and fruit salad as well as limited edition exotic flavours such as ice cream and blue mint. In more recent years, Chewits has branched out and offers a range of sweets including Juicy Bites (bon bons), Xtreme Chews (sour flavours), laces and wands.
The Birth of Chewie
Chewie the Chewitsaurus’ first appeared in 1976, as part of a series of iconic ‘Monster Muncher’ advertisements. The iconic ads became famous as Chewie munched his way through locations across the globe such as the Taj Mahal and Empire State building, all the way to Barrow-in-Furness Bus Depot, putting it firmly on the map. The ads used claymation special effects, and also included a voiceover style reminiscent of a 1950s radio serial.
Chewie has appeared in numerous Chewits advertising campaigns throughout the decades, often getting into mischief as he searched to satisfy his insatiable desire to chew, chewing everything in sight until he found Chewits! Chewie was an instant hit and quickly became the brand’s mascot, remaining an integral element of Chewits advertising and marketing ever since.
The Evolution of Chewie
Over the years, Chewie has evolved in appearance and personality to reflect changes in consumer preferences and the brand’s marketing strategy, however his insatiable appetite for chewiness continues.
From the era of the Monster Muncher ads in the 80s and 90s, the animation of Chewie changed and with it, a new, yet just as memorable ad hit our screens in 1999 — with an earworm you’ll never forget. The brand also auditioned new animals in 2003 to take over as the face of Chewits, but there was just no replacing Chewie.
Most recently, in 2019, both Chewits and Chewie have been rebranded with a more modern feel and all advertising is now done via social media rather than TV.
Despite his many changing faces, Chewie remains a beloved and recognisable icon of the Chewits brand.
So, how and why has Chewie and Chewits stood the test of time and become one of the nation’s favourite sweets for both adults and children alike?
Our brand strategy has always been driven by consumer preferences and trends which have changed over the years. As has our advertising strategy, with the introduction of new technologies we have more options for reaching our audiences with more personalised and relevant ads.
The key to staying relevant is evolution. Don’t be afraid to change with the times.
Featured image: Chewitsaurus / Chewits