I stood in the kitchen between Christmas and New Year, slice of toast in hand, wondering if watching the whole of The Crown twice in 48 hours was a tad too much, when a man on Sky News declared Beano as “PC gone mad” by removing ‘the Menace’ from Dennis.
Puzzled, I went to the papers… Even more outrage.
A sea of columnists were appalled at the totally outrageous “decision” to rid Dennis of his Menacing ways. Hysteria was breaking out in cracker strewn living rooms across the Nation.
What. had. Beano. done?
Blow me down with a Quality Street, it was in The Times, so it must be true!
A week later, the dust has settled and we’re coming out of the collective purple hazelnut haze. So it feels like the right time to let all those amazing fact checking journos out there into a stonking, not so, great secret – we uncoupled ‘Menace’ from King Dennis some years ago.
And all of this got me thinking about other ‘outrage’ moments for well loved brands – which have raised more than a gasp or a giggle across these fair isles.
Whether it is Jaffa Cakes being reduced from 12 to 10 in a packet, or Brexit-y gap-riddled Toblerones, or the brilliant Jodie Whittaker (a woman!) becoming The Doctor.
Brand managers must sit there terrified at the prospect of causing offence when they are about to make such earth shattering announcements. I imagine they have well-oiled PR machines to advise them. Why, it could make or break them!
But in our case, with our audience – and by that I mean kids, what did they think?
Well they didn’t notice. No big pow wow took place, it happened gradually. Dennis’ surname is Menace so we still dare to utter the ‘M word’ every week, and he will always be ‘DTM’ to those of a certain age (we love you all dearly!)
But it’s been all about Dennis & Gnasher to children for quite a while now…
Why? Kids love Gnasher as Dennis’ side kick just as much as the main man – and none of it means Dennis is any less of a dude – take a good long look at the new CBBC Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed series to reassure yourself.
Wild, rebellious, impulsive, a force of nature. That’s Dennis. Exactly the same traits he had back in 1951 when he was first invented.
And for each generation of girls and boys between the ages of 6-12, who come to love Dennis and his pals, Dennis is theirs alone. Every one of us has our own version of Dennis in our head, because he is an extension of what we’d all like to be.
This week we threw the Beano Christmas tree out and stepped into our 80th anniversary year.
We’re going to be making a lot of noise for all the Dennis’ out there this year – both the Menace and Gnasher types.
Take this as your cue to be excited or outraged. But please can you send us the two missing Jaffa cakes whilst you’re at it?