Viagra, life jacket and baby spoon chosen to represent 'spirit' of the millennium

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The Independent Online

Bulletproof life-jackets, emergency shelters and heat-activated baby spoons were added yesterday to the list of official millennium products, chosen to represent the best of British innovation.

Bulletproof life-jackets, emergency shelters and heat-activated baby spoons were added yesterday to the list of official millennium products, chosen to represent the best of British innovation.

"Each product is a symbol of Britain's finest qualities - creativity, inspiration, hard work, imagination," said Tony Blair after visiting the Millennium Dome yesterday.

"Just as the Dome should make us all proud of this nation's creativity and imagination, so should each of the millennium products."

The 235 products - drawn from various fields including advertising, telecommunications and engineering - bring the total of specially selected items to 1,012. Items previously named include the Teletubbies, Viagra and the Heathrow Express train.

In addition to being allowed to bear the "millennium product" logo, the items will be displayed in the Spiral of Innovation, sited next to the Dome in Greenwich, in 2000. The products will also be taken on a worldwide tour promoting British products.

"It's brilliant - this gives us a lot of oomph. Using the logo gives a real seal of approval," said Stephen Barker, the managing director of B&H Liquid Crystal Devices Ltd, which produced a baby feeding spoon that changes colour when food is too hot. "This will really help sales."

The items named yesterday in the fifth and final list of official products were chosen by a panel drawn from a pool of more than 80 judges, who were selected by the Design Council from the worlds of design, the media, academia and industry. Many of the judges represented organisations whose products have been selected, including the BBC, the Body Shop, Jaguar, Marks & Spencer, Safeway and Dyson. Items were nominated by the companies themselves.

Sir Roy Strong, a former keeper of the Victoria and Albert Museum, said the entire selection process was a "load of codswallop". He listed a range of selected items, including concrete roof tiles and a "waterbed for quadrupeds", that were "better suited to the Ideal Home Exhibition".

"What do they have to do with the Design Council?" he said on Radio 4's Today programme. "What do they have to do with British design?"

The Prime Minister told representatives of the companies whose items were selected: "Our future success depends on the qualities, you, your product and your company embody.

"Each of you knows that creation and innovation are at the heart of a successful business. They are also the foundations upon which our future economic success depends."

He also used the occasion to hit back at critics of the Dome project. He said: "It will be a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity. I defy anyone who sets foot in the Dome not to be awed by its sheer scale, variety or range of attractions."

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