THOSE pandas get everywhere. For at the very same time that Scotland – and the world – is waiting with baited breath to see if Tian Tian and Yang Guang finally get together to produce a little McPanda for Edinburgh Zoo, a pair of suspiciously similar-looking bears are starring in a TV ad.
Of course, I’m being silly. The pandas on the ad were filmed decades before our bears landed on Scottish soil. They must be distant cousins. The ad in question is, of course, the famous KitKat Dancing Pandas – originally broadcast in 1987.
Its return has sparked a flurry of nostalgia on social networking sites among lovers of the biscuit/chocolate bar (the jury is still out) who recall the antics of the two bears and the hapless nature-watcher with fondness. Watching the ad got me thinking about KitKats – which have, in recent times, become something of an obsession.
I must point out at this juncture that this column is not brought to you by KitKat. Nor are there KitKat freebies currently circulating in Scotsman Towers.
I can’t remember the last time I went into a supermarket without being bombarded by a giant KitKat hoarding, demanding that I try a new, increasingly bizarre flavour and vote on my favourite. But I have recently discovered that Britain’s best-loved confectionery is not at its most wide-ranging on home soil.
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a blog dedicated to the 200-plus different types of KitKat on offer worldwide (the vast majority of them originating in Japan) and have since spent many a happy hour perusing the brightly-coloured wrappers. From green tea flavour to fruit parfait and creme brûlée; soy sauce and bitter strawberry to roasted sweet potato, KitKat’s international product developers are clearly a wacky bunch. Whatever the flavour, every second 418 people somewhere in the world are eating a KitKat. Have a break? Absolutely. I’m off to make it 419. And maybe while I’m away, the pandas will finally play.