I said to a friend the other night: 'You don't have any phobias, do you?'
'Of course, I do,' she protested. 'I have loads of phobias.'
'Okay,' I replied, certain of myself. 'Name me just one.'
She thought for a moment. 'I tell you what makes me go cold. I can't even look at them without wanting to scream... gremlins.'
'Gremlins!' I exclaimed and, I admit, gave a bit of a chuckle. Gremlins!
'Not the cute ones,' my friend protested. 'Not Gizmo. I mean when they change and become those pointy eared lizard things singing songs from Snow White. Urgh!'
'But they're not real,' I replied.
'What does that matter? You asked if I have any phobias and I told you. Gremlins.'
I didn't argue my point but I'm pretty certain that gremlins can't be a phobia, unless you mean the film Gremlins 2 which I stupidly saw at the cinema and nearly gave me a lifelong phobia of cinemas.
I only tell you this because I went shopping yesterday and bought a bottle of Vimto.
Yes, Vimto. I happen to like Vimto and even if that marks me out as somehow strange and juvenile in my tastes, well I am strange and juvenile in my tastes. I like Vimto and on a cold day, I enjoy a warming cup of Vimto to melt my internal icicles. That's why I bought a large 1L bottle (on offer at Tesco) and how I came to find myself looking at the label.
Vimto have redesigned their label and they now have an animal gazing out. The animal is wearing a warm woollen jumper and holding a nice steaming mug of Vimto. I bet you can't guess what animal is now the face of Vimto.
I'll give you a clue. What animal makes you think winter, the cold weather, the possible onset of snow? What animal do you think would fancy a drop of Vimto to warm it up in the deep winter months?
I asked a few people I know.
Two of them guessed 'bear'.
Another guessed 'rabbit'.
A third guessed hedgehog.
Good guess but wrong.
The answer is...
Wait for it...
That's right. A toad!
A bloody toad!
What the hell has a toad got to do with winter? I know it's cold bloodied blood that's how toads are. Sticking hot Vimto through its system doesn't seem like a very good idea to me at all. In the toad world, that's probably as dangerous as us sucking liquid nitrogen through a straw. It also doesn't make logical sense. Toads are completely absent throughout the winter. I can honestly say, hand on heart, I have never seen a toad on Christmas Day in my life. In fact, I can't think of an animal I associate less with cold weather than the toad.
Vimto, what were you thinking? This is an outrage! You destroying your brand by putting meaningless toads on your bottles.
And, just in case you haven't guessed, I also happen to have a massive phobia of toads and buying that bottle of Vimto yesterday tested every inch of my self-control. I might have to start drinking Ribena.
[Extra information: They're apparently using a toad so they could create the hashtag #vimtoad. As pointless as it is bloody moronic!]