Lyles Rebrand Causes a Stink

In 2007, Lyle’s Golden Syrup tin was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest unchanged brand. Its rebrand in February 2024 has not gone over well.


For those unfamiliar with golden syrup, fans describe it as buttery and caramel-like—so far so good. But the design of its original label was a little less delectable: it featured a rotting lion surrounded by flies. The brand was founded in 1881 by a very religious Scottish businessman, Abram Lyle. He was inspired by the Old Testament story of Samson, who killed a lion and then noticed later that bees had built a hive and made honey in the carcass. Samson ate the honey and announced, "Out of the strong came forth sweetness."

The new design features a much healthier-looking lion and a single bee. The tins will also be replaced by plastic bottle packaging. Consumers and even the Church of England are not happy.


“There is nothing modern about ditching tradition or sidelining Christian messaging,” Sam Margrave, a member of the General Synod, the Church of England's legislative body, told the Telegraph newspaper. “I am sure the Lyle business doesn't mind benefiting from sales and Christian branding every Easter, so why do they feel the need to eradicate their connection with their Christian founder's iconic logo which tells a story that works for every generation?”

Lyle’s officials responded with its own statement to the Telegraph. Gerald Mason, senior vice president of Tate & Lyle Sugars (which, which to be fair, makes many other products that do not involve the lion image), wrote, “Religion played absolutely no part in our decision to try something different on our syrup bottles—a product format where we regularly use different approaches to our brands. It makes me sad that we might have unwittingly upset people today, and I want to apologize for that.”

Like what you see? You, too, can join our tribe of quality designers and marketers who continue to make their mark by utilizing the invaluable resource that is
Click to get more information and join the LogoLounge Community!

What do you think?