An interesting article was posted this past summer at 24/7 Wall St. about brands that are projected to disappear in 2012. Sears, Sony Pictures, Nokia and MySpace are on the list but on a more serious note Kellogg’s Corn Pops made the list as well.
Debuting in 1951 as “Sugar Pops”, the cereal was re-titled ”Sugar Corn Pops” in the late 1970s before finally settling on “Corn Pops” in the 1980s. I remember a few years back they changed the name yet again, this time simply to “Pops” (which I always found strange). Luckily, the cereal was restored to “Corn Pops” after only a few months.
Surprisingly, in the United States alone the cereal had a number of mascots over the years: Woody Woodpecker, Newt the Gnu, Sugar Pops Pete (a prairie dog cowboy), Whippersnapper (a cowboy), Big Yella (another cowboy) Poppy (a female porcupine) and most recently Sweet Toothasaur. Poppy was a mascot during the ’80s yet I have no recollection of her or anything of these other mascots. I can only remember tag-lines such as “Gotta have my Pops!” and “It’s hard to stop when it’s my Pops!” and the use of the JAWS theme in the commercials.
So what’s the reason Corn Pops is in mortal danger? Well, sales are down because people are looking towards healthier cereals and when you’re using BHT (something found in embalming fluid) as an ingredient you can’t really claim to be all that good for anyone to eat. Never mind the fact that everyone knows Corn Pops are covered in sticky, sweet sugary glaze. Falling sales are only half of it though. The price of corn is on the rise and that makes it harder for this brand to turn a profit.
Truthfully, there was nothing in the article that said Corn Pops was definitely going extinct. All the article was saying was that the brand was having a hard time and they were suggesting it’d be a wrap in 2012. Although I don’t eat Corn Pops as much as I did when I was a kid, I still get cravings for it and pick up a box every few months. It’d be a shame to think I could no longer do so come 2012.
So here’s to ya, Corn Pops. I tip my cereal bowl to you and I hope you can somehow find a way to soldier on in a world of raising costs and where people are choosier about what they consume.
Here is a K-Mart commercial from 1986.
God, I miss the glory days of K-Mart. You see at the end where it says “America’s Favorite Store”? That’s not just the marketing department talking, that’s legit! Or at least, for that point in time it was. Any K-Mart I’ve seen in the last 1o 0r 15 years seems to have it pretty rough but the ’80s were a great time to be K-Mart and to shop at K-Mart. I loved that place. It’s a part of my childhood.
My town didn’t have Walmart until the early ’90s and didn’t get a Target until after that. We had three “big box” stores: Hills, Roses and K-Mart and you better believe K-Mart was the King Kong in that little group. Going to that K-Mart during the holidays was as wild an experience as it is going to a Target or Walmart today.
Much has been said about about the E.T. video game for the Atari 2600. So much in fact I really have had no desire to say anything about it until I came across this:
“Just in time for Christmas” is right! Famously, the game’s designer Howard Scott Warshaw was only given six weeks to hand in a full game in order for it to be on the shelves in time for Christmas of ’82. Even more (in)famous, the game is regarded as one of the worst video games of all time. No one blames Warshaw though. He did the best he could (we hope) given the circumstances. The hate is directed towards the greedy execs at Atari for forcing such poor working conditions upon him and being more interested in making a buck with a poor product than making a buck with a good product.
Problem is — they didn’t make a buck at all! The game was so bad it was returned by many, not bought by even more, relegated to clearance bins for 99 cents and unsold copies were dumped in a landfill! A loss of millions and millions for Atari who came out of this with much egg on their face after fumbling what should’ve been a no-brainer “make easy money” licensing deal based one of the most popular movies of all time. They financially stumbled their way through 1983 and 1984, losing $536 million in 1983 alone. The blow to Atari was not Atari’s alone to absorb though. Being a powerhouse in the industry at the time, when they suffered, EVERYONE suffered and this whole E.T. debacle contributed to The Video Game Crash of 1983.
The face of evil?
Fast food and soft drink companies never become more sincere and caring than around the holidays. It’s amazing how they can all happily peddle obesity, poor health and death (the poorest stage of health) in the form of fat, sugar, carbs and calories each and everyday but somehow leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling once you see one of their Christmas-themed commercials. McDonald’s really laid the groundwork for such commercials but over the years Coca-Cola, Nabisco and 7UP used it quite well to their advantage.
Here’s a handful of 7UP’s Christmas commercials from the 1980s. The one featuring the Cool Spots is one of my all-time favorite Christmas commercials.
I didn’t realize this until doing looking it up but apparently Hasbro’s Pogo Bal was not the original version of this toy. It was invented in 1985 and it has gone by the generic names of lolobal, lolo ball and spring ball. Sometimes you may see the Hasbro version referred to as “Pogo Ball” (which is how I thought it would have been spelled) but as you can see from the commercial Hasbro felt two l’s was unnecessary despite what the dictionary says.
Pogo Bals were fun (well, for about 2 minutes, then you got bored) and they look like Saturn! I’ve seen the generic versions but the only ones I remember using were the Hasbro kind. They’re definitely a lot easier to handle than their older cousins the pogo sticks. I never had one of my own but my sister did. This meant a feeling of shame and embarrassment came over me whenever I used her Pogo Bal: it was pink & purple. A far cry from the more manly silver & blue Pogo Bal my friends down the street had.
As with any toy that is popular, tons of gimmicks were introduced. Licensed Pogo Bals featuring your favorite cartoon and comic book characters, glow-in-the-dark Pogo Bals (Is it really wise to encourage 8 year old to bounce around in the dark?) and the like.
If you want to know how Pogo Bals worked, just check out the instructions that Hasbro was kind enough to post on their page. I don’t think Hasbro makes them anymore but you can still find generic versions around.