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|Product type||Cheese puffs|
|Previous owners||Golden Wonder|
Wotsits is a brand of cheesy flavour corn puffs sold by Walkers. The most common form are cheese flavoured curly shapes. However, over the years, various other shapes (such as waffle-shaped Wotsits) and flavours (such as prawn cocktail and flaming hot) have also been sold. "Limited edition" Wotsits have also appeared on more than one occasion. The brand was stretched into Whopping Wotsits, Weenie Wotsits, Waffle Wotsits as well as frozen Wotsits. All came into the market under Golden Wonder's ownership managed by Sir Nigel Parrott between the years 1993 and 2002.
The brand name occurs in the singular, "Wotsit", referring to an individual corn puff. It is an allusion to the slang term "whatsit", to which it is phonetically identical. Wotsits packaging often come with a joke or trivia section on the back. 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.
The brand was previously owned by Golden Wonder, but was sold off separately to Walkers when Golden Wonder changed hands in 2002. Prior to this, Walkers sold the similar American product Cheetos, which was considered a rival in the UK market.
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".
In February 2007, Wotsits were re-launched as the way they were being cooked changed. Instead of frying Wotsits, they started baking them. They were put into new packaging (along with other Walkers brands such as Quavers and Monster Munch) to coincide with the fact they were being baked and in 2009, Wotsits, Quavers, Squares and French Fries changed packaging again to show that Wotsits now have 95 calories in multipack bags and 99 calories in standard bags.
A limited edition flavour Zombie Fingers was put on sale for Halloween in 2013 and has returned at following Halloweens.
- archive.theargus.co.uk; article dated 28 May 2002, retrieved 27 October 2006.
- publications.parliament.uk, retrieved 27 October 2006. (Note: These contain the referenced information, but are not necessarily the sources used by the original author.)
- The Wonder of potato, Catering Update via caterersearch.com. Article dated 1 November 2000, retrieved 21 January 2007.
- "PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF FOOD INDUSTRY ADVERTISING DOCUMENTS", Written evidence, UK Parliament Select Committee on Health