Dr. Pepper Gum. Not much to say other than it tasted like Dr. Pepper, had a liquid center, and it is sorely missed. There were many other gums based on soda flavors at the time (in the 80s) - many of them had liquid centers (made popular by a gum called Freshen Up). People ate a fuck ton of gum back then.
Cereal companies often release these limited edition cereals based on one thing or another - a game, a toy, a cartoon, etc… Powerpuff Girls Cereal from Kellogg’s was an interesting one. I actually bought a couple boxes and ate the shit out of them. This shit indeed fizzed in your mouth and tasted pretty good. I still have the toy that came inside I think - or maybe I got the toy somewhere else. Powerpuff Girls was an inappropriately big deal to adults for a bit - it’s a shame the cereal couldn’t survive in another form. Here’s a commercial… get nostalgic over the thing you never knew existed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eaofqp1rLHc
Hershey’s Bar None - “The One With More”… they released this lovely crispy wafer, chocolate, caramel and peanut candy bar in 1986 after years of releasing nothing new. The problem with this bar was that everyone who ate one suffered internal bleeding, explosive diarrhea, accelerated leprosy and then death.
That’s not entirely true - actually, none of that is true. This was a delightful little candy bar that tasted swell…
They changed the recipe up a bit after a year, but kept the name and then finally just discontinued it without warning. There’s a petition to bring it back and some people are genuinely sad about it not being available at the Piggly Wiggly anymore, but according to Wikipedia, it’s still sold in Mexico. Arriba!
Here’s one of the commercials that ran in the 80s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg9xE7JDNWQ
Coca-Cola Company released Full Throttle energy drink amidst a sea of popular beverages… They have released a number of variants on the line, but only 3 remain - none of these made the cut. It’s puzzling why, and unfortunate that they dropped the sugar-free options since they are so popular with rival Monster… same with the coffee drinks.
Fruit Corners Fruit Bars were very much a part of the 80s. If you don’t remember them, watch this video. http://youtu.be/BZ4_EQmfhbs
Their advertisements were perhaps part of their failure. Some executive didn’t like the look of them and said “nobody’s going to want to eat these disgusting looking things - let’s market them to kids and make them cool because they are ugly!” “Genius!” everyone exclaimed. This executive now lives in a refrigerator box on the street, eats garbage, and carries his own waste around with him in a jar.
Fruit Corners also made Fruit Rollups and other products (which I will go over). General Mills doesn’t use the Fruit Corners branding anymore, and now markets the remaining products under the Betty Crocker label. Fruit Bars didn’t make it, but you can still find similar products around.
Oreo loves to release variants on their one base product, so they are a deep well I plan to keep returning to. Here’s one you probably remember from the 80s. Oreo Big Stuf was a giant Oreo… over 300 calories… in its own packaging and sold as individual units. These existed from ‘84 to ‘91.
Pioneer Take-Out (a.k.a. Pioneer Chicken) was my absolute favorite Fried Chicken joint. My father owned one when I was a kid, and I used to walk a few miles to get to the one near my grandmother’s house when I would visit her. This was at one time the strongest rival chain to KFC, but ended up going bankrupt ages ago. For awhile up until recently, you could still find a handful of locations in California that sorta used the original recipes. I think only one remains as of this writing (if any). I’ve also read that you can find them in China as well, but I haven’t verified this.
When I was a kid, they would give you toys with your kid’s meal and the toys were these cool elaborate magic tricks. I wish I still had one. Since my dad owned a franchise, I got to keep pretty much every variety of toy we got in stock. All I know was that my dad hated running a restaurant more than anything else in life, so that was short-lived.
It’s a damn shame they went under because nothing comes close. They had amazing batter and the strips used whole breast meat instead of compressed chicken sludge. Popeye’s bought up a number of locations, but the recipe isn’t the same. You can still find the remnants of Pioneer around in re-purposed signs. http://www.flickr.com/photos/apeflavored/4396624624/
"Oreo’s Great Tasting Goof is Here to Stay!" (or not…) Uh-Oh Oreo was basically the reverse of a traditional Oreo. They ended up re-branding to Golden Chocolate Oreo and added an all-vanilla cookie called Golden Oreo. This is a case of a wise re-branding… it allowed them to add another flavor and also get away from the whole "oops! we’re incompetent idiots, so eat our mistakes" thing which we’re all too sophisticated to fall for these days.
New Coke/Coke 2 (Coke II) was either failed attempt to improve on perfection or a clever marketing ploy. Proof that people really hate change - this caused quite a stir. Coke introduced New Coke to replace the original formula. People were pissed, so they just called it Coke for awhile and brought back the original formula and called it Classic Coke - that shot sales of the original formula through the roof. They later called the new formula Coke 2 before finally dumping it. Nobody really misses it.
Coca-Cola created Mr. PiBB, and it was the number 1 competitor to Dr. Pepper. About a decade ago, they changed the formula and the name to PiBB Xtra. Die-hard fans will swear it doesn’t taste the same, and the original formula doesn’t exist anymore… if you find something labeled as Mr. PiBB, it’s PiBB Xtra - sorry. There’s a petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/pibb/petition.html