December 12th, 2007 03:40 PM
Hershey to redesign candy
Posted on Wed, Dec. 12, 2007
Jill Porter | Hershey's to change candy Pacs
Philadelphia Daily News
AND NOW a final word about the Hershey Company's moronic marketing of a powdered breath mint that looks like street drugs.
After initially scoffing at the outcry over Ice Breakers Pacs, Hershey's is prepared to change the packaging so the dissolvable pouches no longer look like heat-sealed packets of cocaine. In other words: Your outraged voices melted the big chocolate mountain.
"We are evaluating changes of the design and appearance based on feedback from consumers, retailers and the community," company spokesman Kirk Seville told me yesterday.
"It was certainly never our intention to create any confusion with this product. We take consumer and community feedback very seriously and are acting quickly to address concerns."
The Pacs on store shelves won't be recalled and Seville refused to say whether distribution has been halted. He declined to provide details about the complaints, and said a decision about the changes would be announced "shortly."
It isn't clear whether "shortly" is tomorrow or next month, since Seville wouldn't say.
What is clear is that the indignation voiced by Philadelphia judges and police officials in my Nov. 30 column was echoed across the country and ended in a victory to consumers.
The mints come in dissolvable pouches of blue and orange that look uncannily like bags of cocaine or heroin or other street drugs. Some people dismissed the controversy as silly. But it was another complication in the impossible task police already face in battling the drug trade.
Although each Ice Breakers Pac has a small logo on it, officials feared that a child familiar with the mints would ingest real drugs - or drug dealers would exploit the look-alikes to evade prosecution or scam customers and invite retaliation.
Not to mention that police resources would be wasted confiscating and testing the mints to determine whether they were drugs, a Nebraska police chief pointed out. Whether it was an innocent blunder or a sales gimmick that backfired isn't clear.
Seville wouldn't even admit the product was a marketing mistake. But the company's reconsideration of the packaging speaks otherwise.
"The prudent thing to do is to redesign the product," said Bill Blackburn, Philadelphia police narcotics chief inspector, who, despite his professional expertise, was fooled by the resemblance between the Pacs and pouches of street drugs.
Blackburn said he was contacted by other police departments across the country after his published comments ricocheted throughout the Internet and made national news.
That set off a furor that Hershey's initially pooh-poohed - including boycott threats, petition drives and even a resolution condemning the company that was passed unanimously on Friday by Philadelphia City Council.
Hershey's could barely afford the bad publicity, considering the backlash generated by a plan announced earlier this year to close more than a third of its production lines and shift some production to Mexico.
Philadelphia Police Officer Linda Wagner - who lost her only child, a teenage daughter, to a heroin overdose - was one of those who wrote the company.
"There are so many deadly scenarios that justify the immediate discontinuance of this product," she wrote to CEO David West.
The fact that her voice was heard, along with many others, is a compelling commentary on the power of public opinion. Hershey's is to be congratulated for responding to it so quickly.
"A lot of times these things happen and nobody stands up and makes any noise about it," said Family Court Judge Lori Dumas-Brooks, who voiced her outrage in my earlier column.
"If it raised awareness, and it forces Hershey to change the package, I think that's a wonderful thing." *
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-854-5850. For recent columns:
Here is what they look like:
I was at Target this last weekend with the wife and saw these. The first thing out of my mouth was that these had a very strong resemblance to drug like parafanella.
I am utterly amazed that Hershey's marketing department even put those out.
Question to the LEO's out there...if you busted a guy or gal with these in their pockets and they told you that it was breath mints...would you believe them from the get go?
December 12th, 2007 06:17 PM
I wouldn't have noticed they resembled street drugs, but then never having seen street drug packeging that stands to reason.
December 12th, 2007 07:44 PM
Now would be the time to buy some of those. Buy some...put them away for 10 - 20 years - keep unopened and in pristine condition - and they will be worth HUGE bucks as a future candy collectible.
You younger folks - A word to the wise is sufficient.
Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ
December 12th, 2007 08:42 PM
Originally Posted by QKShooter
I actually thought long and hard about doing just that.
December 15th, 2007 03:10 PM
I found the mint and orange ones at Target today. I picked up two of each just for kicks.
December 15th, 2007 03:45 PM
Hey you're talking to the guy that bought a bunch of the very first PEZ dispensers.
I sure did very well selling those a few years ago.
MUCH MUCH more $$$ than if you had kept that amount of dollars in the bank collecting interest.
4 of them sold for over $500 each.
Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ
February 18th, 2008 02:13 AM
and the mint ones are wicked nasty! ick
‘‘To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them...’’
— Richard Henry Lee, 1787
February 18th, 2008 02:23 AM
... i might have to try one now
Wo die Notwehr aufhört, fängt der Mord an
(Murder begins where self-defense ends)
February 18th, 2008 01:33 PM
I think we are all being set up by Hershey; now I have to find some today and try them!
Assault is a behavior, not a device.
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