The rosella isn’t just a squawking, flying, crapping parrot. It’s an icon of Australia, and if it doesn’t conjure images of soup, biscuits, tomato sauce and jam, then you’re just un-Australian. But the Rosella Preserving and Manufacturing Co. wasn’t named after a parrot, it was named after a plant: the Roselle, or Hibiscus sabdariffa. It’s a malva that produces little fruits which the founders of the Rosella company used to make jam in the late 19th century. But the Rosella company didn’t make biscuits, what are you talking about? Why would a rosella conjure images of biscuits?
Oh, that’s right. There’s another Australian company that uses a rosella on their packages and advertising material: Arnotts Biscuits Ltd. But you’d have to be pretty silly to get the two mixed up…
The same point of confusion ruined John, the aspiring journalist. His first big interview had finally come around with the Rosella company facing foreign takeover. He’d have the scoop if he could make the most of his time with the CEO over coffee. An Australian icon can hardly be handed over to an Indian multi-national without a fight. The CEO secretly shared this sentiment.
John begun his questioning with an easy one. “Sir, what drew you to become involved with the most iconic biscuit company in Australia?” CEOs always have a bottled response for that one, and it makes for a good ice breaker.
“Uh, are you sure you’ve got the right company in mind?”
“Yes, sir. The Rosella Biscuit Company. You’re the CEO.”
“Is this some kind of joke?”
Later John returned to his editor. “Did you get the scoop then, John?”
“No. I confused the Rosella company with the other company that has a rosella on the packet.”
“But John, Arnotts Biscuits has been American for years.”
“Yes, the CEO made that clear. He pulled a packet of Arnotts SAO biscuits out of his drawer and spread some Rosella strawberry jam on them to show me the difference.”
The editor laughed.
“Yes, Rosella is spelled R-O-S-E-L-L-A and Arnotts is spelled A-R-N…”
“Alright, that’s enough.”
“So do you have a story?”
John thought for a moment…
The next day the newspaper headline read “the Sorry State of Young Journalists Today…”
“…by John Higgins.”
He had his story.