Down Under Kookaburra rip off?

27/06/2009

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree/Merry, merry king of the bush is he/Laugh Kookaburra, Laugh Kookaburra/Gay your life must be.

Anyone who sat round Girl Guide campfires will remember that (and just in case there’s a young reader out there, gay in that context just meant happy).

It must be decades since I sang it, but it all came back when I read that lawyers reckon that the classic Aussie pop song Land Down Under by Men at Work is a rip-off  of the Kookaburra song.

Similar maybe, but it would take someone with much better grasp of melody and rhythm than I’ve got to argue whether or not it’s a rip-off.


Vegemite gets cream cheese makeover

16/06/2009

Manufacturers meddle with iconic brands at their peril so no doubt Kraft has put a lot of thought into the new variation on vegemite which is a mixutre of the spread we know mixed with cream cheese.

If the publicity is to be believed  the result is:

. . . a smoother, more spreadable consistency.

 Simon Talbot, Kraft Australia’s head of corporate affairs, said the new product was given to 600 homes for testing and came back with overwhelmingly positive results.

‘It’s a milder version, more suited to dipping celery or carrots, easy to spread. It’s a different flavor profile but still distinctly Vegemite.’

Vegemite is one of the things which unites New Zealanders and Australians because few people not born in either of these countries learn to appreciate the taste.

Vegemite and cheese sandwiches are still a staple of many school lunches and even featured in Men at Work’s song Land Down Under.

I have managed to disguise vegemite on cheese toasties and feed them to visitors who said they enjoyed them. But naked vegemite is very much an acquired taste and even though I acquired  it many years ago I prefer it scaped on toast in small amounts rather than spread liberally.

One of the benefits of vegemite is that it has few calories, and tiny amounts of fat and sugar. Adding cream cheese changes that, but a nutritional diet needs some fat and sugar so the new spread wouldn’t by itself be ‘unhealthy’.

When it’s launched early next month it will carry a label saying name me.

The contest is open-ended as Kraft selects the best name for the Vegemite partner.

‘It’s in the hands of the Australian and New Zealand people,’ Mr Talbot said.

And the proof of the new product will be in their mouths.

The new, creamier spread that is due to be on store shelves by July 5. Consumers Down Under will be able to pick the name of the new Kraft treat


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