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Monday, March 23, 2015

The Top 5 Gimmick Gums That 1980s-90s Kids Loved!

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 The Top 5 Gimmick Gums That 1980s-90s Kids Loved!
by Matt MacNabb

    Kids get the shaft in the candy department these days!  In the 1980s and 90s we got all kinds of themed candies that enriched our young lives and made things so much more fun!  The candy companies need to bring it back.  I know, I know its unhealthy and they shouldn't market it to kids, blah, blah, blah.   This is why they make dentures, right?   Here are the Atari Nation's top five awesome gimmick gums from the 1980s and 90s!

-Fruit Stripe Gum
    Yipes!  Stripes!  Fruit Stripe Gum!  This multi-colored gum has been around for many decades, but it got a branding resurgance during the 1990s with colorful commercials featuring a cartoon zebra.  The gum packs would often include pack-ins like tattoos and in 1996 the gum gave 5 cents from the sale of each jumbo pack to the World Wildlife Federation.  Their total donation was in the area of $100,000.  This aside, the gum looked a lot funner than it tasted..the flavor left this one almost as soon as it hit your taste buds.

-Bubble Beeper

    Wait, its bubble gum in a fake plastic beeper? My kids would look at this and scoff, but I still get all excited when I see such a cool gimmick.  I mean I'm a kid, and I have a play beeper!  Now I can pretend to be a doctor..or a yuppie..or a drug dealer!   These containers featured neon colors and sticks of gum inside that had snappy beeper-friendly phrases, like "See You Later!" and "I'll Call You!".  The gum was crap, but the gimmick was definately cool for 90s kids, like me.

-Bubble Jug
    These awesome little jugs came in various flavors and colors that were all kinds of desirable back in the 90s.  We're talking neon pink, yellow, green...the works.  If you shook these jugs you'd hear the little pink squares of gum rattling around.  The gum was Hubba Bubba brand, so it was decent enough, but you needed so much of it to make a real piece, that this was definately all about the cool container gimmick, not the amount of candy you were getting.  

-Ouch! Gum
    Ok, now this is one was really cool.  I know its hard to imagine now, unless you were there, but these metal tins with sticks of gum packed in band-aid graphics were fantastic back in the day.   A tin with 24 sticks of gum was cool, but it didn't exactly fit well in your pocket.  The nice thing about these bad boys was that when you were done with it you could store stuff in it at home.  The overwhelming 90s gum color of neon pink was again the primary color used on this one.

-Juice Carton Bubble Gums
    I was a connoisseur of bubble gum in my day.  The 90s had some cool gums, but in the 1980s the coolest gum for my money came from Topps' foray into the candy market...Juice Carton Bubble Gum.  They came in little paper cartons themed as orange, apple, grape and eventually pink lemonade.   This was pound for pound the best tasting gum out there.  The cartons were full of little colored rock shaped gum pieces that you'd inevitably finish in a mouthful or two, but oh the joy!  


Matt MacNabb is a freelance writer and pop culture historian.