Old Advertisements – The Well Known Examination Drink

You may be wondering why I didn’t post for quite sometime. It’s the examination period now (October and November) for primary or secondary school students. Though my eldest son (Sec.3) has just completed his examination last week, my daughter will have her 4 main subjects exam next week starting 2 Nov. She is in Primary 4 now, and her exam stretched over a period of 2 months. The Primary School exam now split into many parts like Oral, Listening Comprehension, Picture Discussion, Composition and Paper 2, etc. No doubt they have less to prepare for each paper, but it’s rather stressing over a long period. They don’t seem to have any pressure or stress, but now for me… I have to help them during this period by revising together with them, pressurising them and giving them more assessment books to do. Now they even avoided going to Popular Bookstore with me…

My kids are lucky that they have the well known ‘Examination Drink’ that was passed down through generations – The Brand’s Essence Of Chicken. I don’t even have a sip of it during my time and it was usually given to women who have just given birth. Now my kids just gulped it down their throat as they have the children’s version (smaller bottle).

This Brand’s Essence Of Chicken has changed over the years in terms of packaging and advertisments. I have this print ad from the Chinese Newspaper (Nayang Siang Pau) 1981, about 28 years ago;

                                                                                                                           Credit : Nayang Siang Pau, 1981

How I wish to have a set of that playing cards! See those prizes – VHS tape recorder, CRT TV, portable radio and cassettes player, they are so nostalgia. I love print ads more than any other media ads because it’s something that I can hold it physically.

Below is another Brand’s print ad between 1950s to 1969;

Credit : PICAS, National Archives of Singapore

This one is even older, between 1948 to 1968. I like this one as it said “Brand’s Essence of Chicken has been instrumental in saving many lives in Malaya”. Also look at the packaging at that time, in a can?;

Credit : Cerebos Pacific Limited Singapore

By looking at the old ad, we can see that this Brand’s Essence of Chicken has its packaging changed over the years. This is how it looks like now;

Of course the packaging has been changed to glass bottle for a long time. Do you realise that the cap also have change? Take a look at the new cap now;

See the rubber gasket inside the cap seems to have disappeared. Now take a look at the older cap (just probably one ‘generation’ before this current one);

The above cap you still can see the rubber gasket but I remembered the older type has a dark maroon color type of gasket. Moreover it’s more difficult to open a bottle of Brand’s Essence of Chicken compared to the now new twist open cap;

Credit : Cerebos Pacific Limited Singapore

See this old ad (I don’t remember seeing it frankly, just ‘Google it out’) on how difficult it was to open the cap;

I like this Brand’s Essence of Chicken ad sometime back, it’s about a guy with ‘super memory’;

and also another ad with the ‘flying dagger in the office’; this one is funny I think;

But the above ad seems to be marketing the product towards the adult and not much to the children or students. In other countries, I think I still can find the Brand’s ad targeted towards the students. Check out the below ads (probably in other countries);

This one below maybe have seen it before;

OK, so much for the ads. But I’m really surprised when I tried to find out more about this Brand’s Essence of Chicken – it really was a tonic soup even fit for a King! Here is a little facts on the tonic drink Brand’s Essence of Chicken which has about 189 years of history;

不说您不知 (Don’t say, you don’t know), the late King George IV of United Kingdom was known to be extravagant and obese. His heavy drinking and indulgent lifestyle had affected his helath by the late 1820s. Thus his royal chef Mr.H W Brand (this tonic drink was named after him) developed an essence of chicken beverage to boost His Majesty’s health.

The chef upon his retirement, made this tonic soup commercially.

Credit : Cerebos Pacific Limited Singapore

In 1920s, the Brand’s Essence of Chicken was already marketed in Asia, and Singapore was among the first country it sold to. Pretty long time ago right? Now the Brand’s Essence of Chicken comes in different flavour too like those with codyceps, etc. But I still preferred the original one!

So once the product is well established, competition came in and other type of essence also appeared in the market too. This one also appeared in the 80s ad;

Frankly I still preferred chicken essence flavour than other types.

Of course there are other direct competition too like this brand;

Do you still remember this ad;

So which do you prefer? As for me, definitely the original one and original taste…

What My Father Wrote ;



17 Responses to “Old Advertisements – The Well Known Examination Drink”

  1. 1 Timothy Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Interesting article. Just curious how does the last saying by your father relate to this blog?

  2. 2 Philip Chew Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    So, you too follow the crowd feeding your kids with ‘Examination Drink’. Did it help? My friend the former Cheif Food Officer said Essence of Chicken contains only gelatine. In my case, I gave my kids ‘yu sim chwee’. It cools down the body heat after a late night’s study.

  3. 3 peter Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    I don’t drink but eat fish roe……maybe the wrong fish type.

  4. 4 Kimology Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    I remember a quite racist advertisement for Brand’s years ago before the days of the television in the cinema. It showed a very skinny dark skin hand of a person becoming a fat fairer yellowish hand after drinking it. Even as a child I found it illogical.

  5. 5 laokokok Friday, October 30, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Thanks Tim. Sorry for the confusion, “What My Father Wrote” has nothing to do with each article, as mentioned in my previous post “Nam Sang Hua Yuan”, I will include after each post “What My Father Wrote”.

  6. 6 laokokok Friday, October 30, 2009 at 7:40 am

    I’m not sure if it helps, Philip…but if based on the exam results, then I don’t think so haha. My son like the taste but my daughter prefer Red Bull. BTW, what is that Yu Sim Chwee? In what dialect is that?

  7. 7 laokokok Friday, October 30, 2009 at 7:41 am

    Fish roe as fried type? I like that too.

  8. 8 laokokok Friday, October 30, 2009 at 7:43 am

    That must be many many years ago, Kimology. I’m surprised you still remember.

  9. 9 Jun Wong Friday, October 30, 2009 at 8:44 am

    LKK, I beg a differ. For this time, what your father wrote did reflect some portion of the examination drink in a way.

    “Do your duty and leave the rest to God”

    “Do your duty” means the students study hard for the exam.
    As for parents, they take good care of and prepare their children. For instance, LKK prepare tonic drinks for your children.

    “Leave the rest to God” means the outcome of the exam result is in the hands of God. Its beyond our control.

  10. 10 Philip Chew Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    It’s a Chinese herb called ‘yu sim’ in Hokien or ‘yong sam’ in cantonese. Brewed in hot water as a drink known as yu sim chwee.

  11. 11 laokokok Friday, November 6, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Thanks Philip. You mean ginseng?

  12. 12 laokokok Friday, November 6, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Thanks Jun Wong. Guess you are right about what my Father wrote.

  13. 13 Lam Chun See Monday, November 9, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    During my varsity days, I used to take this ‘supplement’ that is supposed to be good for memory – I didn’t quite believe actually, but what to do .. desperate case. But I just cannot recall the name. What an irony. It tasted horrible. Powder form.

  14. 14 laokokok Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I think you have not been taking this powder supplement for quite sometime hehe.

  15. 15 Kimology Friday, November 13, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Nowadays, the students are drinking lots of Red Bull as they promote is widely in the universities and polytechnics . Apparently, it contains caffein so keeps everyone a wake.
    My Mum said that for her generation, some parents burn paper with chinese ink writing on them and mix them into drinks for their children to eat before exams. Drinking the chinese ink is believed to make them more literate. Of course there’s also the Chinese charms on pieces of paper. My husband’s mum used to post them to him with strict instructions of how to burn them and make them into drinks. Haha.

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    I’m curious to find out what blog platform you happen to be using? I’m experiencing some minor
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  17. 17 garage in a box Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

    No matter if some one searches for his essential thing, therefore he/she wants to be available
    that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here.

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