Believe it, Wispa is back to stay

CHOCOLATE bar sales topping 23 million during a brief trial run last year have led confectionery firm Cadbury to bring back Wispa bars for good.

A campaign on social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace demanding the return of the bar led to a seven-week trial and soaring sales.

The bars were introduced in the 1980s, with television advertisements featuring celebrities such as Yes Minister's Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne, Victoria Wood and Julie Walters and Hi-De-Hi's Simon Cadell and Ruth Madoc.

But falling sales in the 1990s led to the line being discontinued in 2003, only for fans to demand its return, with thousands joining online networking groups.

Cadbury spokesman Tony Bilsborough said: "Wispa is a true icon, loved by its fans everywhere. We brought it back temporarily to see if the desire was genuine, but fans are still rallying so we took the decision to bring it back for good. We know others have looked at Wispa and tried to copy its success by bringing back other brands, but we don't believe anyone has managed to recreate the same excitement."

The bar will return to permanent sale on 6 October and cost 45p.

Wispa was first brought out in 1981 for a trial in north-east England. The bar with a bubbly centre was seen by many as a rival to Nestl's Aero bar with the slogan "Bite it and Believe It".

Cadbury saw a 25 per cent drop in sales in 2006 after 42 customers fell ill following an outbreak of salmonella at its factory in Marlbrook, Herefordshire, and had to pay a fine of 1 million for production failures that led to the contamination.