Posts tagged “candy”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Ring Pops Inspire Mariah Carey Fragrances [] – [Perhaps this is the future: multi-layered endorsement/licensing/line-extensions/cross-promotions] Mariah Carey’s Lollipop Bling, three fragrances that Elizabeth Arden based on candy flavors and that will appear in stores soon, is the product of a partnership with the Topps Company, which makes Ring Pops. “Topps sells tens of millions of units of candy,” said E. Scott Beattie, chief executive at Elizabeth Arden, which also has fragrance licensing deals with celebrities including Britney Spears, Danielle Steel and Elizabeth Taylor. “Combining their customer base with Mariah Carey’s fan base and our fragrance base is a great way to cross-promote all the brands.” While the scents “take a candy element as a thread to be woven in a fragrance,” they do so in a way that “elevates candy into a prestige environment,” she said. (Thanks, Gavin!)
  • [from Dan_Soltzberg] Bowman vs Google? Why Data and Design Need Each Other [OK/Cancel] – [Tom Chi's thoughtful post on how engineering and design need to work together] "Design is really a kind of multi-variate optimization of extreme complexity…I’ve often said that 'Art is about freedom while Design is about constraints.'”
  • [from Dan_Soltzberg] INTERVIEW: Sougwen [Design Noted from Michael Surtees] – [Nice reframing of drawing from a method of artifact production to a way of creating experiences] "I’m pushing a process with my work that counters the preciousness that some designers find fascinating. My performances are expressions of drawing as an activity, not about making a pristine or perfect image."

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Remixing Deep Dive Interviewing Secrets [Things On Top] – This remix of tweets from “Deep Dive Interviewing Secrets”, a UIE virtual seminar by Steve Portigal, gives you some of the answers. I missed out on Steve’s webinar, unfortunately, and decided to check out what others had tweeted about it using the hashtag #uievs. Luckily, there had been lots of activity and discussion, and I felt that Twitter provided me with quite a comprehensive summary of Steve’s stunning insights in to interview techniques. For my own sake and for future reference, I decided to compile that Twitter timeline in to a short document.
  • Remembrance of Candy Bars Past [] – These companies are the face of what the candy industry in America used to be. Each city or region had its own factories, and people could actually see and smell the place where their favorite sweets were made. Regional candies are a dying breed. Today, there are perhaps a dozen such concerns left in America. The rest have been swallowed up, or put out of business, by the massive consolidation that has shaped the modern confectionery industry. Thousands of candy bars have disappeared along the road to consolidation, including such recent delicacies as the peanut butter-and-chocolate pods known as Oompahs, the treacherously chewy Bit-o-Choc, the glorious, nougat-and-caramel-filled Milkshake, and the Bar None, an ingenious marriage of peanuts and wafers dipped in chocolate. Also gone (but not forgotten) is the curiously alluring Marathon Bar, a braided rope of chocolate and caramel whose wrapper featured a ruler on the back.

You show us everything you got


When you’ve already really, really, really sold out a long, long, long time ago (see previous posts about KISS Kondoms and Kasket and KISS Coffeehouse for just a few examples), where do you go next? Perhaps KISS is such a wholly inauthentic brand (note brand not band – this has long ceased to be about the music) that they are therefore actually authentic in their own Seussian-logic-justified way. They were always cartoons, now they are candy-coated cartoons.

Thought exercise: Is there a product or brand that KISS shouldn’t endorse/brand/co-brand? Or wouldn’t?

ChittahChattah Quickies

Candy-coated history

The other day I saw some unfamiliar M&Ms packaging in a local drugstore.


The Retro Tube!

I wondered whether this was truly a reissue of an old packaging style or just a marketing ploy—a “remember a time that never was” kind of thing—and I asked an older woman in front of me whether she remembered M&Ms ever having come in that kind of package in the past. She said no, she didn’t.

But, some quick internet research reveals that, in fact, M&Ms really did come in a tube when they were first introduced as “a compact, durable food source for troops during World War II.” (Source:

Not only was this bit of history interesting to learn, but it led to my discovering this really cool interface on the Mars company’s M&M history page.

Related Posts:
Great food and packaging pictures
The New Yorker profiles Roald Dahl

Big, disgusting and delicious

PimpThatSnack is an insane website, documenting in reasonable detail some ambitious projects to look at a familiar snack and cook up really really large versions.

I wrote recently about rediscovering the vanilla slice on a trip to Toronto. Here they produce a very very large vanilla slice, shown here next to a regular-sized treat.
Pimp That Snack 6 24 2006 11 33 14 PM.jpg
That is the money shot in all their projects – the original dwarfed by their pimped-out creation. Here’s a Nutrageous, complete with insanely-supersized-wrapper.
Another great example of consumer participation in a previously-limited-to-producer behavior, a theme I wrote about a while back.

And of course, we’ve got some ironic Google ads inserted into their pages.
Low-Carb? Sugar Free? These are death-inducing creations; not sure where Google’s algorithm gets those ads from!

Research Report Re-released – Smarties taste test

An article in the Daily Mail reports that Nestle is removing the artificial food coloring from Smarties.

Although Nestle says it is responding to calls from consumers for more natural ingredients, it has faced heavy lobbying from campaigners worried about the effects of the chemicals on children’s health.

The colours being axed include Brilliant Blue (E133); Quinoline Yellow (E104); Sunset Yellow (E110); Ponceau 4R (E124); and Carmoisine (E122).

A recent study by experts at Liverpool University identified a possible harmful cocktail effect on the nervous system of artificial colours and chemicals.

Two of the colours examined were Brilliant Blue and Quinoline Yellow, which like many others was originally derived from coal tar.

This seems like a good occasion, therefore, to re-release some of my earliest consumer research, conducted in partnership with Mark Jaycock. In “Are You A Smartie?” we asked a range of demographics (age, gender, smoking status) to identify the color Smarties candy based on taste alone. We theorized that the food coloring itself may have had a taste that people were learning and indeed identifying with the supposed flavor of the color itself. I wonder how the results would be different now, with the artificial coloring removed? Will the natural colorings taste as strongly?

The report is available as a PDF download here. It was tempting, when revisiting this work (which is about 25 years old) to correct typos, upgrade the information design and readability, but as an artifact of some of my earliest consumer research, I felt it was better to leave it mostly intact.


Milk: delicious but deadly

One of my favorite things to track down, foodwise, on a return trip to Canada, are milk drinks that are flavored like chocolate bars. They are amazing; they capture the exact taste of a specific chocolate bar in a completely different form factor. From a solid to a liquid, with the same mix of tastes. Last trip we tried the Rolo version.

It was as incredible as every other one I’ve tried. It tasted like a Rolo, but it was a liquid. I can’t stop repeating the superlatives and proclaiming the sensorial wonder of it all, sorry.

So it was cool to see that here in the US we’ve got a similar product available now.

Milky Way and Three Musketeers. We bought both but have only tried the Milky Way. It’s good, but not stunning. It has the flavor components of Milky Way, but they don’t replicate the bar experience.

I am hopeful to see this category of product here in the US, though. Maybe we’ll get more of ’em, especially if they can figure out how to get it right.

New Yorker profiles Roald Dahl

From a lengthy New Yorker profile of Roald Dahl comes this story of a formative exposure to the notion that the products we experience are the result of conscious deliberate decisions by others, and that this is a process one can engage in.

He and the other boys at Repton also enjoyed a curious perk, courtesy of the Cadbury chocolate company. “Every now and again, a plain grey cardboard box was dished out to each boy in our House,” Dahl writes in Boy. Inside were eleven chocolate bars, aspirants to the Cadbury line. Dahl and the other boys got to rate the candy, and they took their task very seriously. (“Too subtle for the common palate” was one of Dahl’s assessments.) He later recalled this as the first time that he thought of chocolate bars as something concocted, the product of a laboratory setting, and the thought stayed with him until he invented his own crazy factory.

Dahl is brilliant at evoking the childhood obsession with candy, which most adults can recall only vaguely. In his books, candy is often a springboard for long riffs on imagined powers and possibilities. Far from being the crude ode to instant gratification that critics like Cameron detect, Dahl’s evocation of candy is an impetus to wonder. When Billy, the boy in The Giraffe, the Pelly, and Me (1985), opens his own candy shop–talk about wish fulfillment!–he orders confections from all over the world. “I can remember especially the Giant Wangdoodles from Australia, every one with a huge ripe red strawberry hidden inside its crispy chocolate crust,” he says. “And The Electric Fizzcocklers that made every hair on your head stand straight up on end. . . . There was a whole lot of splendid stuff from the great Wonka factory itself, for example the famous Willy Wonka Rainbow Drops–suck them and you can spit in seven different colours. And his stickjaw for talkative parents.” The word “confection” has a double meaning in Dahl’s world: candy is a source not only of sweetness but of creativity. On a field trip recently, I sat next to three nine-year-old boys who spent forty-five minutes in a Wonka-inspired reverie, inventing their own candies.

Star Wars Candy

Gah. George Lucas has led the way in movie merchandising, but why does this specifically turn my stomach so? Enough to make me consider skipping the film (I blew off Shrek 2 when the image became inescapable leading up to the movie opening) – there’s so many of us out there that have seen our childhood legacy destroyed with crappy film making (Ep I and II, specifically) – this seems to cross a line for me. Great job on the candy side, but really. Just annoyingly silly. See a well done trailer here.


About Steve