Picture the scene. You’re in a newsagents. You are waiting to pay for your item (a bag of Deep-Ridged crisps, let’s say), and there is a man in front of you paying for his. He is a fairly normal-looking bloke: slightly asymmetrical haircut, bit of stubble, leather jacket, smart jeans, them Adidas Samba trainers. He coughs slightly, mutters “alright, man” to the newsagents, places his Topic bar on the counter, and…
That’s right. I said Topic bar.
You see, nobody ever buys Topic bars. If you were in a shop when Topicular purchasage was taking place you would definitely get face-strain on account of your raised eyebrows. It would be deeply odd. (Or so I imagine; I have of course never observed such an occurrence.)
And yet, why is this? Topics are basically (admittedly slightly smaller) Snickers, just with hazelnut instead of peanut. My gut reaction here is simply to revert to an allegation of basic anti-hazelnutism, in the manner in which my grandparents identify anti-semitism in any instance in which a Jew happens to have been wronged. But no; a cursory look at the bigger picture reveals this gut reaction to be misguided. Jews don’t rise to a position of global dominance because everyone hates them,* and them purple Quality Streets don’t become top dogs (which, undoubtedly, they are) because of everyone hates hazelnuts. Something far more subtle is going on here.
So what exactly is happening? Why, in spite of their ostensibly acceptable ingredients, do Topics remain a somewhat eccentric chocolate of choice? This is an incredibly deep question, a conclusive answer to which inevitably remains well outside the scope of a paper such as this. I will here merely proffer a brief conjecture.
It’s all about marketing. Snickers have those cool adverts with those guys who are divas until a chomp into a Snickers bar brings them to their senses. Mars has numerous adverts. Bounty bars are all tropical beaches and coconuts. Yorkies are NOT FOR GIRLS. Galaxies, the ads would have you believe, are EXCLUSIVELY for girls. Topics are…well, nothing. I’ve never seen a Topic advert. It’s as though Mars, the company behind them, thought “mehhhhhh!” (a bit like a goat).
There are obvious flaws with this theory. A Wiki-binge tells me that Topics were advertised on radio in 2002 by no less than SIMON PEGG! This is a problem for my theory, but it is very far from insurmountable: I would argue that a solitary ad campaign, on radio, over a decade ago, by a ginger man, represents a pretty poor investment in one’s product.
The moral to be drawn from all this is sobering. It boils down to this: unless a product is constantly marketed in your face all the time, the decision to buy it will strike others as bizarre. Topics are basically a microcosm for the pervasiveness of modern marketing, of rapacious capitalism, and the need for a Marxist insurrection.
(Or maybe they’re just not that great. You decide.)
*If you don’t believe me, I refer you to the Protocols of the Elders Of Zion.**
** I’m allowed to say this. I’m Jewish.