Monday, January 05, 2009

Chuckles, Marketing, and Aliens

I just polished off a package of Chuckles jelly candies from the vending machine in our office and a few thoughts occurred to me:
  • The flavors in Chuckles have never changed.
  • I have never, in my life seen any advertising or marketing for Chuckles.
  • I don't even know who the hell makes Chuckles. Is there a Web site?
The Flavors
In case you're curious, the official name of the five Chuckles flavors are: Cherry, Lime, Lemon, Licorice, and zesty Orange. As far as I know these have always been the flavors. They were introduced in 1921 and they haven't even CONSIDERED adding or changing the flavor, not even the black one in the middle that most people don't like. That's confidence! That's chutzpah! At some point wouldn't you expect a dude in marketing to come up and say "Hey, coconut's big this year, why don't we try out a Pina Colada Chuckle?" My guess is someone did and he was fired on the spot.

Marketing and Advertising

I assume that the people that make Chuckles have a marketing department. But I may be wrong. For all I know they're made by aliens. In any event, I know for a fact that I have never seen any consumer advertising for Chuckles. Have you? Yet I have eaten Chuckles throughout most of my life. They just seem to show up and periodically I buy them. I assume they are being marketed heavily to candy dealers. If not I can only assume they are indeed made by aliens and they're being beamed down to Earth without us even noticing.

OK, It's Not Aliens

Chuckles are actually made by Farley & Sathers and they do indeed have a Web site. The Web site is as retro as the packaging although while the packaging appears straight out of the sixties, the site merely seems straight out of the 80's. Farley & Sathers also manufacture other similarly semi-famous candy like Now & Later, Rain-Blo, Trolli, and Fruit Stripe (that's right!) I think I've actually seen a Fruit Stripe ad but other than a terrific product placement in Ferris Beuhler's Day Off for Trolli Gummy Bears, I think that's about it. Wait, maybe that was Haribo Gummy Bears. Someone should do a comparison.

Anyway, I think the reason that all this struck me me is that I was thinking how nice it must be to have a product that succeeds for over 80 years despite an utter lack of innovation, marketing, and style. Chuckles just show up. Hey, maybe that could be their tagline!

I seem to have a Chuckle left. Does anyone want the black one?