This film is part of Free

Rowntrees Polo Mint: Romeo

“Tis but thy name that is my enemy” is hardly an idea that lends itself to such a strong branded product, but it enlightens the otherwise humdrum.

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It might seem a rather tenuous connection, Shakespeare and Polo mints, but in among the dozens of soundbites taken from the ordinary man and woman on the street, one at least has managed it. Somewhat ironically, though perhaps not untypically, it takes the one non-native interviewee to make it; although it may not be surprising that an immigrant would be more in tune with the universal theme of Romeo and Juliet.

From the introduction of the hole into Polo mints in 1955, Rowntrees began a mass advertising campaign making much of this new design – taken from the US confectionery Life Savers, which were shaped with a hole in them from 1925. The slogans ‘The mint with a hole’, and later ‘People like Polo’, carried the advertising campaign until at least 1981. The advertising giant J. Walter Thompson collected hundreds of soundbites out on the streets during the 1960s and ‘70s under the heading, “Who likes a Polo?”. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is of course Juliet’s poignant remark when the bigotry of tribal loyalties became a barrier to seeing Romeo for what he truly was, and allowing their love to flourish.