Bazooka Candy Brands is ditching the small comics that have traditionally been included with Bazooka Bubble Gum. The Bazooka Joe comics have been inserted inside gum wrappers since 1953. For decades kids would open up the gum and look for the comic, although it appears the company has learned kids these days no longer care about the comic.
According to Today's Life Inc.
, "Bazooka Joe has told his last corny joke".
Instead of the comics, Bazooka plans to update and instead include activities that might be more appealing to today's kids. Reportedly, as a replacement for the comics, there will be brain teasers, activities and codes that will be able to be used on BazookaJoe.com
to unlock content, such as videos and games.
The New York Times
reported sales of the Bazooka-brand gum have significantly declined in recent years. According to the report, from 2007 to 2012, sales of the brand fell 48 percent; the actual numbers were $17 million down to $8.8 million. Reportedly, only a mere 7 percent of children in the 6 to 12 year age range are aware of the "Bazooka Joe" featured in the comics, and of those that were aware of the comic character, only 41 percent "liked" him.
In addition to eliminating the comic, the company plans to revamp its logo and packaging.
“What we’re trying to do with the relaunch is to make the brand relevant again to today’s kids,” said Anthony Trani, vice president of marketing at Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of the Topps Company.
For many years, the gum was a "penny" gum that was sold in packages of one piece that included the comic. The new package will contain several pieces of gum, with original flavor, including a new flavor as well, blue raspberry.
The comics will be gone by January 2013, at which time the new package design will debut as well.
More retailers reportedly plan to carry the newly redesigned gum product. Media reports say Target, 7-Eleven and Kroeger plan to add the gum to its list of products available in stores.
“Instead of a cheesy joke, we wanted to have a fun, engaging activity for kids, but the purpose wasn’t to not include Bazooka Joe,’’ Trani told The New York Times
. “To me it is all about doing one thing really well, and that is refreshing the Bazooka brand.”
Do you think discarding "Bazooka Joe" comics is a wise marketing move by Bazooka Candy Brands? Are they straying too far from their roots or do you think this will help bring sales back up?