Wotsits

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Wotsits
Wotsits.JPG
Product typeCheese puffs
OwnerWalkers
CountryUnited Kingdom
MarketsUnited Kingdom
Previous ownersGolden Wonder

Wotsits is a British brand of cheesy flavoured corn puffs sold first by Golden Wonder and now by Walkers Crisps. The most common form is the "Really Cheesy" flavour of corn puffs.[1] Other shapes and flavours have also been sold, including limited-edition varieties.[citation needed] The brand name in the singular ("Wotsit") refers to an individual corn puff.[citation needed] It is an allusion to the slang term "whatsit", a placeholder name, to which it is phonetically identical in British speech.

Varieties and flavours[edit]

Golden Wonder ownership[edit]

When Wotsits were first introduced by Golden Wonder, they were available in flavours such as Cheesy, Crispy Beef (later named Barbecue Beef and BBQ Beef), Cheese & Bacon, and Spicy Tomato. The latter two were discontinued in the 1993, and a Prawn Cocktail flavour was put onto the market after it replaced Smoky Bacon in February 1998.[citation needed]

By the late-1990's, Golden Wonder introduced various variety expansions of the product. "Weenie Wotsits" were released in November 1999,[2] followed on with the grid-shaped "Wotsits Wafflers" in May 2000,[3] and the oven-based "Wotsits Mealtime Potato Shapes" in November 2000.[4] Longer "Whopping Wotsits" were released in August 2001, and the Mealtime Potato Shapes were later released at McDonald's restaurants in the country in September 2001.[2] Golden Wonder redesigned the "Wotsits" brands in October 2001.

In March 2002, Golden Wonder announced the launch of a football-shaped version of the product called "Wotsits Goalden Balls" to coincide with the 2002 FIFA World Cup.[5] The product was released to complete with Walkers' "Footballs" product.[6]

Walkers ownership[edit]

In May 2002, Golden Wonder announced they would change hands and be sold to Longulf. The Wotsits brand was, however, not included in the purchase and was announced to be sold separately to rival Walkers.[6][7] The purchase was completed by November.[8]

Following the purchase, on 3 January 2003, Walkers relaunched Wotsits with a brand new look and advertising campaign.[9]

On 1 April 2004, Walkers announced the launch of a new "Flamin' Hot" flavour of the product, which replaced "BBQ Beef".[10] On 26 July 2004, Walkers announced the launch of a new product expansion called "Wotsits Twisted", which contained twists of corn, and were available in BBQ and Really Cheesy flavours.[11]

In February 2007, Walkers changed the packaging for all their snack products, which were Quavers, Wotsits, Squares, French Fries and Monster Munch. This packaging reflected the usage of Sunseed Oil, which was used in all products. The Multipack bags were in a different layout, being in Landscape style. In May 2008 Wotsits were changed from being fried to baked instead.

In December 2009, Quavers, Wotsits, Squares, and French Fries all changed their packaging again to coincide with a "99 Calories or Less" range with a consumers’ focus on “New Year New Me”. [12] Wotsits had 95 calories in multipack bags and 99 calories in standard bags at the time. In January 2012 the Walkers logo was re-added again and after a while, the brand has simply been sold in Really Cheesy flavour.[1]

A limited edition version Zombie Fingers was put on sale for Halloween in September 2013 and has returned at following Halloweens. These come in Flamin' Hot flavour and are longer and curlier than normal Wotsits.[citation needed]

On January 9, 2020, Walkers announced that the Flamin' Hot and BBQ Beef (renamed to "Sizzlin' Steak") would return to store shelves due to popular demand.[13] A new variety called "Wotsits Giants" was also introduced around the same time, containing larger pieces of corn double the size of standard Wotsits.[14]

On February 18, 2022, it was announced that the Prawn Cocktail flavour would return to store shelves as a Wotsits Giants flavour in March, once again due to popular demand.[15]

Advertising[edit]

The brand was the first to introduce inserts into its packs in 1994, with the insertion of "Pogs". It also inserted Merlin football stickers and other inserts aimed at 11-year-old boys. The brand was advertised with the strapline "you only get a whoosh with a Wotsit" between 1994 and 2002 following a campaign designed by JWT of a play on words. Wotsits packaging used to come with a joke or trivia section on the back.[citation needed]

Wotsits were one of the sponsors of SMTV Live (alongside other Walkers snacks such as Monster Munch and Squares) from 4 January 2003 until the show's discontinuation on 27 December 2003.[citation needed]

In 2003, the advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers made a public apology when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health brought to light a private brief that it had made to Frito-Lay (Walkers' owners) where it proposed encouraging children (4 to 9 years old) to believe that "Wotsits are for me—I'm going to buy them when I get the chance and pester Mum for them when she next goes shopping".[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Walkers Wotsits Crisps | Walkers Snacks". walkers-snacks.co.uk. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b "McDonald's set to roll out Wotsits snack". 20 September 2001.
  3. ^ "Golden Wonder TV campaign". www.campaignlive.co.uk.
  4. ^ The Wonder of potato, Catering Update via caterersearch.com. Article dated 1 November 2000, retrieved 21 January 2007.
  5. ^ "Goalden Balls to tackle Walkers' Footballs". 10 January 2002.
  6. ^ a b Week, Marketing (30 May 2002). "Walkers to move Wotsits to AMV.BBDO".
  7. ^ archive.theargus.co.uk; article dated 28 May 2002, retrieved 27 October 2006.
  8. ^ "Walkers puts its muscle behind Wotsits". The Grocer.
  9. ^ "ADWATCH: Wotsits brings in rapping school kids to revamp image". www.campaignlive.co.uk.
  10. ^ "Walkers unveils new Wotsits flavour and relaunches Squares".
  11. ^ "leisure-kit.net: The search engine for leisure buyers". www.leisure-kit.net.
  12. ^ "Walkers launches '99 Calories or less' banner". 5 December 2013.
  13. ^ Dawson2020-01-10T00:01:00+00:00, Abbie. "Wotsits brings back two discontinued flavours - Flamin' Hot and BBQ Beef". The Grocer.
  14. ^ Dishman2020-09-08T10:04:00+01:00, Mark. "Walkers gives it large with Wotsits Giants campaign". The Grocer.
  15. ^ Garrett, Lee (18 February 2022). "Walkers confirms return of Wotsits flavour after 20 years". LeicestershireLive.
  16. ^ publications.parliament.uk, retrieved 27 October 2006.