Sunday 21 May 2023

Vintage Crisp Packet: KP Crisps Salt & Vinegar (1984)

The British Crisps vintage crisp packet collection continues to grow, with the latest addition being a classic in the, well, classic crisps category. This packet of KP Crisps Salt & Vinegar dates from 1984 and, given its age, it features the good old KP Friars. It's also exceptionally retro, being blessed with a graphic design which encapsulates the era much more than any old "I LOVE 1984" documentary on Channel 5 can.

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In terms of colour, blue is the order of the day (with a side plate of whites and reds). A sky blue background houses not just a clear window to tease the consumer with a glimpse of the contents, but also a bold, navy blue KP Crisps logo. The 'KP' section of this logo is basic, although there's no mistaking it for any other brand. The true beauty, however, lies in the "Crisps" part of the logo, a gloriously vintage font which exudes a playful, cheery brand of fun. Also, KP want you to know that this packet is BIG VALUE. I'm not sure what the cost of this 30g bag was at the time, but I wouldn't bet against KP's claim.

Click for a high-res version

This particular packet is also blessed with a promotional offer, an intriguing variety which always brings great delight to the crisp packet collector. And this is a most curious offer. For just £1.30 and two empty packets, you would be the proud owner of a KP Friars mask. And this fantastic offer is heralded by Brother Abbot holding up two of the masks available. Just imagine turning up to work or school wearing one of these, you would surely be crowned Chief Japester. Simpler times indeed.

Anyway, as the back of the packet reveals, there are four masks available, each one featuring the guise of either: Father Abbot, Brother Benjamin, Brother Angelo or Brother Peter. Judging by the "How to apply" instructions, you don't get a choice of which one you would have received. The back of the packet also features Brother Crispin, a cheery, rotund fellow of the cloth who is there to inform us that he makes sure "KP are the crispiest crisps ever created". It may be nearly 40 years later, but, on behalf of everyone, thanks for your efforts, Crispin. Thanks a lot.

I've been unable track down any visual evidence of the KP Friars masks, and this leaves me with many unanswered questions. Were they made of cardboard? Or were they fancier, plastic masks? And just how many people wore these down the pub for a mid-80s laugh - remember, this was long before happy slapping and TikTok pranks, where a wacky mask would have been considered a rather complex brand of comedy.

If you can remember anything about these curious masks then please leave a comment below. And, if you still have one, consider yourself a living legend of the crisp world.

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