|Country of origin||Manchester, United Kingdom|
Vimto is a soft drink originating from the United Kingdom. It was first manufactured as a health tonic in cordial form, then decades later as a carbonated drink. It contains the juice of grapes, raspberries and blackcurrants (in a 3% concentration), flavoured with herbs and spices. The original recipe was invented in 1908 by (John) Noel Nichols.
Vimto has also been made into a sweet and an ice lolly. It is available both as 'packaged goods' - i.e., in cans and bottles via retail outlets—or as a dispensed soft drink—i.e., a draught drink in pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Vimto has acquired cult status amongst its consumers, and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008.
Vimto was created in 1908 in a warehouse at 49 Granby Row, Manchester England, by (John) Noel Nichols (1883–1966), a wholesaler of herbs, spices and medicines. He saw the market opening for soft drinks due to the temperance movement and the passage of the 1908 Licensing Act. It was originally sold under the name Vim Tonic, which Nichols shortened to Vimto in 1912. Vimto was originally registered as a health tonic or medicine, which was then re-registered in 1913 as a cordial.
During the 1990s, Vimto print advertisements used the popular character Purple Ronnie, along with slightly rude poems by Giles Andreae, the creator of Purple Ronnie. In 2003, Purple Ronnie was dropped, and a new creative direction was adopted, revolving around the benefits of Shlurpling the Purple. This, in turn, led to the launch in 2006 of Billy and his Dad's Pants - a modern-day morality story in which, despite turning up at the swimming pool with his Dad's pants in the middle of his rolled up towel , Billy wins out with ingenuity and humour. The theme tune 'Dad's Pants' become something of a cult classic, and was based on the Loudon Wainwright III song, "Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road". A sculpture entitled "A Monument to Vimto" (1992), carved out of an oak tree from a sustainable forest by Kerry Morrison, is situated on Granby Row in central Manchester. The statue was restored and repainted in 2011. The sculpture commemorates the fact that Vimto was originally produced on this site.
Vimto is currently produced by Cott Beverages in both Derbyshire and Yorkshire on behalf of Vimto Soft Drinks, a division of Nichols plc. Nichols moved out of manufacturing in 2003 when it closed its final production site in Golborne. Vimto is also manufactured under licence in Saudi Arabia in Dammam City, Yemen and The Gambia. A Sunday Times article claims that it is considered to be the most popular drink during the holy month of Ramadan in some Arab countries.
A subsidiary of Nichols plc, Cabana is the distribution arm of the company, and operates via a UK-wide network of distributors that are, in the main, independent. In Scotland and Sussex, the distributor is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cabana: (Scotland - Cariel, and Sussex - Beacon Drinks). Vimto is currently available in sixty-five countries and the number of countries in which it is on sale is growing.
Both a still, dilutable version ("Vimto Cordial") and a carbonated premixed version ("Fizzy Vimto") are available in the UK. While Vimto has its origins in Northern England, it is increasingly growing in popularity, and can now be found nationally and internationally. The Cordial version is more widely sold, and is available in concentrate and ready-to-drink varieties.
As with many other soft drinks, sugar-free varieties are available.
Vimto is also available in a slush variety alongside many other different Vimto confectionery products, such as Vimto bars, lollipops, Rip Rolls and candy sprays.
Vimto is also available in a summer flavour, containing ingredients such as orange ("Who put Oranges in my Vimto?") and apple ("Who put apples in my Vimto?") both of which are cordial products. Vimto was the UK's fastest growing soft drinks brand by value in 2006 (as measured by ACNielsen).
A cocktail known as the Cheeky Vimto or "Crazy Vimto" is also drunk in the UK. However, Vimto is not an ingredient of this beverage; instead, it contains port and Blue WKD. There is also a variant of this cocktail called "Dirty Vimto" that replaces the port with Buckfast Tonic Wine.
Vimto is also often made as a hot beverage by simply adding boiling water to the concentrate, and is very popular in this form throughout the North of England. Vimto is often made with hot water especially during the winter months. It is also taken to sporting events in vacuum flasks by spectators as a warming drink to fend off the winter chill.
A cherry-flavoured Vimto (named "Cherry Vimto") has been introduced in the UK. This has now also been joined by a strawberry-flavoured Vimto ("Strawberry Vimto")
There have been several major advertising campaigns to promote Vimto.
Derek Griffiths sang a song on the piano about Vimto.
The "Dad's Pants" television commercials featured a school boy who mistakenly took his dad's underwear to a swimming lesson. The song was originally written by comedian John Warburton (based on the tune of "Dead Skunk" by Loudon Wainwright III) after executives from Cheetham Bell JWT saw him performing musical comedy at a club in Manchester. The song was sung by Manchester soul singer Matt Wolff.
Shlurple the Purple
These advertisements, aired in 2005 featured a person drinking Vimto to find a strange thing happens to them (like a man's head shrinking or another man's ears stretch out). The same slogan is featured at the end of 'Dad's Pants'.
Seriously Mixed Up Fruit
Seriously Mixed Up Fruit is the new strapline for Vimto and replaced Shlurple the Purple in 2009. This campaign features anthropomorphised raspberry, grape and blackcurrant characters engaging in various activities which inevitably ends up with them being 'splatted', thus becoming the drink.
The character voices are performed by UK voiceover artist Christopher Finney.
In the Arabian Peninsula, Vimto has enjoyed over 80 years of dominance as the beverage of choice for the iftar or sunset feast during the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan. An article in The Times on-line mentioned some 15 million bottles were sold during the one-month season in 2007.
In Saudi Arabia Vimto is manufactured under license by the Aujan Industrial Company and enjoys a 90% market share in the cordial concentrated drinks market. Every year, the company launches aggressive marketing campaigns on Arab satellite TV channels that in recent years have become very popular, and achieved cult status with viral marketing videos exchanged on the Internet.
- Vimto History.
- The Vimto Archive at the History of Advertising Trust.
- Manchester Statues & Monuments, Papillon Graphics' Virtual Encyclopaedia of Greater Manchester, retrieved 2009-05-29
- The centre of a purple world, BBC Manchester, 15 August 2008, retrieved 2009-05-26
- "celebrating a hundred years in the life of...". Wigan Today. Johnston Publishing. 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
- Hashash, Sara (14 October 2007), "Vimto peps up Ramadan faithful", The Sunday Times (London), retrieved 2009-08-05
- Vimto Cluedo
- Hashash, Sara (2007-10-14). "Vimto peps up Ramadan faithful". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-05-27.
- Vimto looks to 80th season in the GCC | Aujan Industries | AMEinfo.com
- Vimto facts