Cracker Jack -- aka America's original junk food -- announced Thursday that the iconic mystery prize found inside each package would be replaced with stickers bearing digital codes for mobile games.
The company, owned by the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo, said they were taking a new approach to their prizes with "baseball-inspired mobile digital experiences directly from the sticker inside." Say what?
Cracker Jack, the molasses-flavored caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts mix, has been around since 1896, says Chowhound. And while the brand has had a long-standing association with baseball, (remember the line sung at every game's seventh-inning stretch from Take Me Out To The Ballgame? -- "buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack ....") there is a whole other side to what's inside that box. Those little toys have become collectibles!
While efforts to reach a representative of the Cracker Jack Collectors Association were unsuccessful, we share their belief as stated on their website: "What could possibly be more fun than finding the surprise inside Cracker Jack??" Nothing, that's what. We are sure that the not-so-mysterious-of-a-prize-anymore will be a hot topic at the upcoming CJCA convention in Memphis.
Crack Jack prize-collecting is real. There are multiple books published about setting value (prices) on Cracker Jack toys and the little trinkets themselves are for sale or trade all over eBay. Currently, there's a buy-it-now price of $129 for 27 tiny Cracker Jack plastic airplanes on a piece of black twine. That's string, for the uninitiated.
What will the discontinuance of the little toys mean to collectors? Given the law of supply and demand, it could make them very happy. Fans of nostalgia, however, might feel differently.
But whatever the case, Frito-Lay management appears hellbent on bringing the Cracker Jack Prize Inside into the 21st Century. (Perhaps they have forgotten the pushback they received when they changed the box a few years ago?)
"The Cracker Jack Prize Inside has been as much a part of the nostalgia and love for the brand as the unforgettable combination of caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts," said Haston Lewis, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay, in a press release. "The new Prize Inside allows families to enjoy their favorite baseball moments through a new one-of-a-kind mobile experience, leveraging digital technology to bring the iconic Prize Inside to life."
The new prizes will require the Blippar app, available for iOS and Android, and will come in four themes: Dot Dash, Dance Cam, Get Carded and Baseball Star. Cracker Jack will also debut restyled logo and packaging.
While Frito-Lay would not comment to Huff/Post on the sales of Cracker Jack lately, spokeswoman Joan Cetera said the "evolved prize design is part of a broader marketing effort to remain relevant within a consumer landscape that is changing at an accelerated pace."