Cool Britannia

Cool Britannia is a media term that was used during the mid-to-late 20th century to describe the contemporary culture of the United Kingdom. The term was prevalent during the 1990s and later became closely associated with the early years of ‘New Labour’ under Tony Blair. It is a pun on the title of the British patriotic song ‘Rule, Britannia!’

The phrase ‘Cool Britannia’ was first used in 1967 as a song title by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. The phrase reappeared in the mid-1990s as a registered trade mark for one of Ben & Jerry’s ice-creams (vanilla with strawberries and chocolate-covered shortbread). The ice cream name and recipe was coined in early 1996 by an American lawyer living in London, Sarah Moynihan-Williams, as a winning entry in a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream competition. The phrase was quickly adopted in the media and in advertising.

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