Sunday, March 15, 2015

From the Misc. Food Aisle - Mr. Wiggle

Product: Mr. Wiggle
Company: Kraft Foods
Years: Early 1965 - ?


It seems strange that there was once a time when they had to find a way to market Jell-O to kids, but once upon a time (10 years before me), this was actually the case. Kids everywhere were folding their arms, making that frumpy face that kids make when they don't want something. You know the look:


So Jell-O came out with a new line of Jello that they were sure kid would love. They combined Jello with the one thing kids love: Toys! Jello filled with marbles, plastic army men and jumping jacks turned out to be a HORRIBLE idea, so they went with plan B: Candy! (Note - the part about the toys? Yeah, I made that up. Just in case you actually believed me. In which case, you should know better.)

Mr. Wiggle was a candy flavored jello. You heard me correctly. Take the sweet, sugary taste of Jell-O, and add candy! Brilliant! Kids loved it! Parents loved that their kids loved it! Dentists just stood there, shaking their heads, saying stuff like  "Really?", and "There goes the country!"

It came in 6 flavors: Gumdrop Grape, Candycorn Orange, Jellybean Strawberry, Lollypop Lime, Rockcandy Raspberry, and Candyball Cherry. It was glorious, and, it had some pretty awesome commercials voiced by the amazing Paul Frees and Daws Butler, arguably 2 of the most famous voices of our childhoods.


On a side note, there was a big lawsuit filed in the 70's over this product. It turns out that a design agency (Young & Rubicam) pitched the idea to the Jell-O people for a jello aimed at kids, that could have a fun name, like Mr. Wiggly or Mr. Wigglee. The Jell-O people (they weren't actually MADE out of Jello, which would have been pretty cool) wasn't ready to commit to this, since they tough their original product was good enough. Then they got wind that their competitor Pillsbury was going to be coming out with their own line of kids gelatin called "Jiggly". Kraft wasn't about to let that happen, and decided to go ahead with the kids version, but instead of Mr. Wiggley, call it Mr. Wiggle, which was a COMPLETELY different thing altogether. They cut out the advertising agency and said it was really an idea they had Long before Y&T had even mentioned it to them. Lawsuits ensued. Lawyers were called. Feeling were hurt. I'm not even sure what the outcome of the lawsuit was.....beleive me, I tried to read all these court documents on the case to figure it out, but they might as well write out those court papers in Latin, because after reading several pages I forgot if I was reading a court case or trying to order Chinese food. (I got the General Tso's).



Mr. Wiggle was loved by many. It was before my time, but I would welcome it's return. Heck, it wouldn't be too far out to think they could join forces with some popular candy companies today and revive the line. Skittles/Starburst/Nerds candy would all work well. Someone.....make this happen.


1 comment:

  1. If it was marketed in the early 60s under the makers of Jell-O, it wouldn't be Kraft, it would be General Foods because Kraft and General Foods merged in the 1980s.

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