The classic bubble gum brand Bazooka Joe is getting its first major facelift... ever. But with the new packaging and color schemes, the gum is losing one of its most distinctive aspects -- the comics.
Bazooka is going through a major re-branding, the company revealed in a New York Times story Thursday evening. The comics that used to come with every stick of Bazooka, starring Bazooka Joe and his sidekick, Mort, are being replaced with puzzles and mind-benders, the kind of thing you would find in a cheap Christmas cracker. Joe and Mort are being relegated to the margins of those brain-teasers, and they'll only appear occasionally.
Gone is the old red, white and blue packaging from the days of yore. Also gone is the slightly less memorable, more cartoonish red, white and blue cartoon style the company adopted in 2006, the last time they did a rebranding. We live in a fuchsia and yellow world now, and the new Bazooka packaging reflects that. The colors are bold and splashy so the gum will trick kids into thinking its hip. "This isn't your dad's gum, you square" the new look says, spitting at your feet.
"What we’re trying to do with the relaunch is to make the brand relevant again to today’s kids," said Anthony Trani, the vice president of marketing in charge of Bazooka told the Times. (Do you know who else said that? Roger Myers Jr.) Bazooka sales have fallen because of a rise in people eating humorless, sugarless gum, and gum designed to clean your teeth. Blech.
The worst part: it's working. Target, 7-Eleven and Kroger agreed to start carrying Bazooka in January, when the relaunch goes into effect. Those stores didn't carry Bazooka at all before, that's how far the brand had fallen.
A better idea, instead of changing the way your iconic gum looks, might be to actually pay for advertising, something Bazooka hasn't done in five years. This was the company's last ad campaign, all the way back in 2007:
It could be worse. At least they didn't try to be edgy, or in your face. They didn't try to make a gum that gets biz-zay.
Oh, wait. On no.
[Inset image via Flickr]