mmm, chocolate

I was bored, so halfway through a delicious packet of chocolate minstrels I wrote an e-mail to Masterfoods, the company who manufacture not only the aforementioned, but also M&Ms, the Mars Bar, and all sorts of other examples of classic British confectionery.


I have a great idea for a new chocolate product. You should produce some white chocolate minstrels and some dark chocolate minstrels and combine them in one packet.

The name? Black & White Minstrels.

I would buy them, and so would all all my friends.

What do you think?

All the best,


Before too long, they got back to me.

Thank you for contacting us regarding GALAXY Minstrels,

We receive many letters from the general public suggesting new and interesting ideas, together with lots of feedback and comments on our current product ranges. However, all our ideas are generated in house and through our agencies, often many years in their planning. Not all ideas are feasible due to technology restraints, and may be shelved until a future date.

We continually carry out research into the needs and requirements of our consumers and we record all the comments received on our products.

If you need any further information or advice please contact our Consumer Careline on the telephone number below and one of our Consumer Care Advisors will be more than happy to help you.

I’d be lying if I didn’t report that this e-mail didn’t make me slightly angry. While the speed of response is to be commended, the text is obviously a copy and paste job, designed to react to the widest possible range of customer suggestions without ever properly addressing an individual’s specific idea.

Honestly. The very minimum a company should do, when someone has spent literally minutes tailoring an e-mail designed explicitly to waste their time, is to respond in similar fashion.

This country is going to the dogs.


  1. You’ve got a good idea there actually. I’d definately buy them!

  2. Me too. I’m going to suggest it as well.

    If we get enough form letters, we can then use them to torch the factory.

  3. Sound a little like vice versas, a chocolate product from a few years ago, they had white chocolate in a crispy dark shell and vice versa… oh actually I get what they were doing now.
    Still masterfoods may still be missing out on a real treat, think of the marketing possibilities, maybe even a black and white minstrel show?

  4. Exactly! It’s obvious!

  5. Reminds me of a staff suggestion I came up with whilst I was working at one of the high street banks – cheque books with cartoon characters. Fab idea, even if I say so myself.

    The team that make decisions about that sort of thing sat on it for 3 months and had to be chased twice before coming back and saying that consumer usage of cheque books was in decline with increased use of debit cards and consequently it wasn’t going to be adopted. And with it went my dream of the tax free staff suggestion payment of £20.

    I was pretty hacked off too!

    I think your idea is fun but it does have the potential for people with sick minds (eg racist/BNP members etc) to exploit it. Its a shame but, as you say, “the country is going to the dogs”.

  6. Hmmm – the Race Relations lobby might get somewhat upset by Black & White Minstrels.

    How about “Diversity Drops” or “Integraties”.

    On a separate note, I was trying to locate an on-line supplier of Epicure products. Went to the web site stated on the label of a (now sadly empty) plastic jar of Epicure Dried Morels – – and was greeted by a sublimely useless landing page for some holding company or other. Can anyone help me out, here?

    And no “and the morel of this story is” puns, please >:o)


  7. Bad idea. As they mentioned in their reply. Technology and manufacturing problems often stop ideas going forward. All your white chocolate minstrels would have a mucky look from the dark chocolate ones. It would result in a none appealing set of minstrels.

  8. I find it amusing that a letter suggesting what could potentially be a racially charged snack item was directed to a company called “Masterfoods.”


  9. “all our ideas are generated in house and through our agencies, often many years in their planning.”
    Yawn. Designed by committee. They’ll never let a spark of genius like that through.

    “we record all the comments received on our products”
    Bur never act on them? Then why record them? Just for use as evidence in case of a copyright case?

  10. I sent them an E-mail asking to make a new bounty bar only taking out the coconut (which no-one likes) and replace it with tiny, little pieces of glass. I was trying to test your theory of the copy/paste job. Well they must of read at least 3 1/4 of the email, as they did’nt respond. Fuckin wankers. The least they could do is respond. I once sent a letter to Extra stong mints (Bassets) and they sent me £5.00 worth of vouchers, it was like christmas had come early. I suggest you try this Fraser rather than an email and see what happens. Pretend you’re a child also as they’ll be more likely to pity you. Tramps take note.

  11. I remember writing to Cadburys about creme eggs ages ago – they sent me 12 of the buggers in an egg carton. Lovely.

    Better was the scam we came up with when I was about 10. One of us had bought a packet of Tutti Fruttis which were all mangled and odd colours. We went and bought another 30 packets from different shops, put one mangled sweet in each and then sent the lot back. They sent a huge box back to us by way of apology. Can’t help thinking they were a little confused by completely different batches of sweets all having the same fault though…

  12. hmmmm …. sounds vaguely familiar. My 10 year old sent a suggetion to “LEGO” and got the same response. You’d have thought they would want some suggestions from children since they’re the ones who bug mom and dad to buy the product!

  13. WOW that pimp my snack site is awesome!!

  14. Better to take and adopt the changes suggested by children regarding chocolates. “Record all comments recieved on the products but do not act on them”.Wat is the use of even recording if not to apply? Suggestions help in improving the over all status of the product, otherwise it will end no where. Customer satisfaction is must and there needs have to be looked after effectively for that.

  15. Vice Versas were ace. They don’t make them anymore? La lame.

  16. Great idea.
    Some day your request might result in a product.
    You also could produce the new chocolate product by you own, just for fun.

  17. I’m not a lawyer but imagine if they said “WOW, what a great idea! We’ll get right on that!” A year later when your suggestion becomes the hottest new candy on the market you sue them for royalties and they have to admit that the idea was yours. Much easier and safer to send you a form letter and toss your idea anonymously into the R&D hopper.

    I suspect someone will look at your idea and consider it but the legal exposure of telling you so is simply to great to risk. I think equally reasonable to assume that no company who is out ot make aprofit (all of them) would completely ignore a cusomers suggestions…

  18. Thats a pretty good joke, but it wouldnt go over to good in the US South.

    I’m laughing about it though

  19. Mmmm mm good!

    Blackface Licorice would be a personal favoirite, complete with a blackface tattoo tab!

  20. Hello:

    I’ve a cool idea for a new cat-based website. You could get people to send you photographs of cats sitting next to drugs paraphernalia and then publish them alongside fitting adverts.

    It could be entitled Cats on Crack.

    I\’d find it all so hopelessly amusing. And so would all my friends.

    Le Guen

  21. Hey at least you got a reply. I wrote to Sony on spec with an idea and got nothing. It just goes to show you shouldn’t offer ideas for free.

  22. I suggested Chilli non Carne to Linda McCartney Foods and they used the idea without every responding to my suggestion. Never give any commercial company anything, not one thing, for nothing. You might as well wear a sign saying “Rob me”.

  23. “without ever” not “without every”. they never responded.

  24. I particularly like the way they put GALAXY Minstrels, to remind you not only that that they’re no longer ‘Chocolate Treets’ but also that they’re not called simply ‘Minstrels’ anymore, as all Mars products must now be named after space things.