Updated: Mar 31, 2022
“It may be a matter of some irony”, writes Mr Bramley Cox-Pippin [who clearly doesn’t know what irony is [Ed]*], “that I write this letter on a laptop banded with the symbol of an apple [no name no pack drill], since it concerns the now almost ubiquitous use of the apple as a symbol of everything from a fruit company to a hi-tech venture of Californian origin and no little Chinese involvement …”. [That’s enough of that [Ed]]
*neither incidentally, according to surveys, do 88% of University of Afpuddle graduates many of whom seem to think it is a description of a ferrous taste often associated with a furry tongue after a night of over-indulgence on red wine. [See also “pavement pizza” [Threadbone Dictionary of Urban Slang, The Threadbone Press .]
Mr Cox-Pippin goes on at some considerable length to adumbrate the many occurrences of apple-based branding now prevalent in our semiotically over-stimulated world; blaming global capitalism amongst other commercial phenomena for this singularly tedious convention. [Even a modicum of research would have made clear that much of the responsibility for this - and sooooo much more - actually lies at the door of Sir Paul McCartney-Cox whose Apple Records holds the record [pun intended] for the worst branding-cost:returns ratio in gramophone history. The Threadbone Corporation in contrast must be held completely blameless. It has never, knowingly, employed a fruit when an inorganic alternative was available - a principle very firmly communicated to the Charles and Maurice MacPro Partnership from the outset.]
Mr Cox-Pippin’s naiveté notwithstanding and - it being a slack day in the office - we challenged our branding correspondent Ko-Pe Wright to find the first use of an apple symbol to promote a non-apple related product. She did so ... and with surprising results.
Ms Wright writes:
A symbol of both freshness and sinfulness, the the highly ambivalent apple is as old as Eve which is to say at least 100 years old**. Prior to its adoption by a number of multi-national, global conglomerates [several of which feature the fruit in profile with a bite taken out of it] it was used in a campaign to promote the fledgling Dorset Regional Health Service [and “to keep the doctor away” so that he/she/they could concentrate on more important things like improving their terms and conditions of service] but had been used even before that by the Beachside Cafe at Branscombe Bay. Proprietor Wooster Pearmain was inspired to create an apple-shaped kiosk in 1947 when a former World War II air-raid shelter came into his possession and he was - on his own admission “buggered if I knew that to do with it”. He later went on to say that “since Mrs Pearmain was handy with a teapot and her mother could knock out a decent scone, we decided to give it a go. We ended up with three kiosks but none of them was that successful - people kept asking us if we did cider, but we never got the license”.
**Ms Wright was educated at Piddeltrenthide Junior School, Bradford Peverill High School, Canford Cliffs Sixth Form College and Alma Mater College. Hence she has no concept of History, Geography or Current Affairs but is good with a mobile phone, texts “like a demon” and can whistle up an Uber before you can say knife.
The Beachside Cafe eventually closed in 1963 and the kiosk was given to the XVth Division , Twelfth Regiment, Third Foot of the Dorset Boy Scouts Association who, under the inspired direction of Mrs Amanda J Threadbone’s late husband - Mr Threadbone [aka Akela] - used it as a “privacy tent” until “questions were asked”. It was finally destroyed in 1986 in what insurance companies insisted was “an Act of God”, but locals believed was a planned assault. No monies were paid out, thought it is understood that the "powers that be" in the Dorset scouting hierarchy came to an understanding with the families of several of the scouts involved.