A Mars A Day, Helps You Work, Rest and Play Advert

By Mark Nobes

Did you know that the Mars Bar is 91 years old? Well, you do now, and it was first made in Slough by Forrest Mars in 1932, with the three main ingredients being chocolate, nougat and caramel, as they still are today.

Just about anyone who grew-up in the 1960s, 70s and 80s will most definitely remember the Mars Bar adverts with the catchy jingle "A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play", which made its first appearance in 1959. Of course, it doesn't really help you do any of those things, although it may give you a short burst of sugary energy which quickly subsides and then leaves you with a headache!

Eating one every day is most definitely not a healthy option, but back in the day, advertisers could get away with saying just about anything! The slogan was used in dozens of their adverts, and was last shown in 1995. However, in 2008, a new Mars advert featuring bell-ringing monks featured the slogan "Work, rest, play" but not the jingle. Instead, the hit song "Jump Around" by House of Pain was used.

A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play advert

So does the Mars bar still taste the same as it did in the 80s? 

Well, I actually bought one just to find out. It's definitely smaller, no surprise there, and I didn't really like the taste of the chocolate, which had a strange tang to it. It would be unfair of me to say that they have altered the recipe, and it could be that my taste buds have changed over the years - I do find many chocolate bars too sweet these days. However, I have always preferred Cadbury's chocolate as it just seems creamier and smoother, although I do like Mars Galaxy bars.

The advert I've featured in this post is from around 1983 or 1984, and is quite a basic one, being straight to the point. It simply features someone unwrapping a bar and eating it, and a mouth-watering image of the chocolate being poured over the bar. I'm sure I recognise the voice of the narrator, but I have been unable to find out who it is. I was actually surprised at how few of the older adverts there are available on Youtube, as I'm sure I remember there being quite a number of them with this jingle.

Back in the 80s, manufacturer's were competing to offer you their biggest bars, as you can see on the "Big Bar Value" displayed on the bar above. These days, it seems that they want to make the bars as small as possible. In fact, I'm pretty sure we'll soon be paying for just the wrapper!

During the 90s, some Scottish fish and chip shops started selling deep-fried Mars bars, and it's something I've never tried, but it does actually sound appealing to me, although many find the idea very unappealing, and that's putting it mildly. The craze for the waist expanding, deep-fried version has actually now spread to other countries, including Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. 

Although the black colouring of the wrapper with the red and gold text has remained the same for many decades, the text font is quite different these days, being smoother and a little more funky, I guess. You can view the latest design at the top of this page.

So do you still like a Mars bar? Why not let me know in the comments section below.