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A Very Fishy Business

One of the most famous images in marketing history: Threadbone Fish's "Two Lovers".

Behind every famous brand lies an equally famous story, though, as author George Orwellington-Boot, might have put it, “some brands and some stories are more equally famous than others”. Of all of the famous brands more equally famous than the ones that are simply equally famous, surely the most exceptionally equally famous is Threadboneless Fish’s much more equally famous than most “Two Lovers” brand; just one part of its Quality Catch and Responsibly-Sourced Canned Fish range currently available at twice the normal price as part of Waitaminute Supermarket's Green Wednesday initiative.*

*Though never officially endorsed, the “Two Lovers” appellation - a reference to the couple featured in the logo - has stuck. No-one in the Corporation - least of all in the marketing department - has thought it wise to object to this popular and singularly appropriate association. Green Wednesday is continuing all day today [Thursday] at the University of Afpuddle Campus Waitaminute superstore. Open 7am until 10pm. Limited trolleys available due to student-related CONTRIK-69 sanitising issues.

Threadboneless Fish's "Two Lovers" Brand sardines: "Inexplicably popular".

Like many taken-for-granted icons, little inquiry has been made into the origins of this especially iconic image, the lazy assumption being, perhaps, that it was simply a whim on the part of proprietrix Mrs Amanda J Threadbone or the result of a late-night brainstorming session in the offices of some unknown and unlamented predecessor of the now rather too-frequently employed MacPro Brothers design team.**

**Given her track record of iron-fisted control, surely anyone with an ounce of common sense would know that the former is far more likely.

It will come as a surprise to some then [not me [Ed]] that chance has recently revealed something of the “Two Lovers” history and brought in its wake a mystery of perhaps deeper - one is tempted to say surpassing - interest.

Originally published by the Mysogenist Publishing Group Inc's Greeting Cards division, the original card - not to say the original image could be "worth A-bomb" and prove well worth the cost of litigation.

At a recent Sotherbone’s auction of vintage Christmas and Greetings cards, Lot 462, garnered particular attention. Measuring a mere 6” x 4”, the interest of the cognoscenti was aroused to what auctioneer Bangme Gavelle has called “an unforeseen and wholly unprecedented level”. “To the trained eye”, she said, “it is obvious that the front illustration bears a striking resemblance to - and by inference might well be a lineal progenitor of - the “Two Lovers” as featured for the last 40 years on various canned fish varieties originating in the Threadboneless Fish Canned Fisheries factories”. She went on to add: “it is wholly natural, therefore, that the appearance of the card at auction should have aroused the curiosity not only of deltiologists, collectibles and fine art art-lovers but also all those in the business of venerating canned goods - be it labels or actual tins”.***

***As many a consumer of Two Lovers Brand canned fish will agree “de gustibus non est disputandum

Given the unexpected level of interest, it is little wonder that Lot 462 has been withdrawn temporarily from sale pending a full evaluation by Sotherbone’s Greetings Cards, Parchment and Watermarks expert Folio Shêtès.

In the meantime, understands that lawyers acting for the estate of long defunct Mysogenist Publishing Group Inc’s original owner - US entrepreuneur Mr Naffe Cardes - will be seeking exemplary damages for copyright infringement. However, all right-thinking folk will surely be intrigued by a number of questions raised by the card's appearance, not least [a] when and how the image came to the attention of Threadbone Corporation CEO, CIO, President and Chair Mrs Amanda J Threadbone, [b] why it had such significance for her that she chose it above all other equally or more equally attractive brand images and, more equally intriguing than all that, [c] what is the full identity of the mysterious Archie whose passionate [if intermittent] declaration of affection is evidenced on the card’s inside right panel.

So far Threadbone watchers have little clue as to who Archie might be or even if Archie is his/her/they's real name. Could it, social media influencer M T Head has asked, be a nom d'amour for a famous celebrity whose identity is yet to be revealed?

Watch this space ...


Our Top Brand Correspondent - Töppe Branded - adds

Threadboneless Fish - which was originally to be called Pick-Up-A-Pilchard - was established in the early 1980s when several tonnes of close-to-sell-by-date mixed fish came into the possession of Threadbone Animal Feeds Ltd. Sensing from the slightly less than rancid smell that the sizeable "catch" might still be fit for human consumption [albeit amongst the "lower and less affluent orders"], then warehouse manager Ivor Big-Shedd proposed a quick clearance sale on Friar's Cliff's Thursday Wet Fish Market. The remaining stock was then quickly canned and distributed through local branches of Edna's where it found a ready market amongst those able to afford nothing better. Strongly endorsed by Mrs Threadbone's mother [the well-known post-War rationing extension campaigner] as "perfect on a slice of toast", the scene was set. Further supplies having been secured from the Dorset Bulk Waste Fish Company [later acquired by the Threadbone Corporation for 1p] serious manufacture began, a brand image was chosen [see above] and the rest, as they say, is commercial recycling history.

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