This film is part of Free

Fruit Gums: Teenager

The teenager emerges into our culture in all innocence, fruit gums in hand, doing what all teenagers first do; buy a record in a record shop.

1960 1 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


As with many of their other ads for confectionary, Rowntree aimed to make fruit gums a treat for everybody on any occasion: from tidying the house to being stuck in a traffic jam. Here the teenager is targeted, with the opening line, “what is a teenager?” A gang of lads sporting Elvis quiffs visit a record shop and enter a record booth, with Cliff Richard’s debut LP carefully placed behind, and pass the fruit gums; in the days before passing around the bennies and black beauties.

This is one of a large collection of films made by Rowntree’s of York (now Nestlé), most of which are adverts for their confectionary products. Cliff Richard’s rare first LP, with the Drifters in the soon-to-be Shadows line up, was recorded live in February 1959 (reaching 4 in the album charts). Famously, the teenager was born in the USA in the 1940s and arrived in Britain in the fifties. This ad reflects the early years of the teenager before the rock and roll influence morphed them into fully fledged rockers and the more sophisticated mods, and their culture of “uppers”. Before too long the association between teenagers and sweets would become rather dated, and the ads would have to become somewhat more subtle.