Branding crossover a slam dunk … right?
When I spotted it in the ice cream aisle, my heart leaped with joy.
“It” was a box of Good Humor ice cream bars. The variety? Kellogg’s Pop Tarts. But not just any Pop Tarts – Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts.
If I were to personalize Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” with new lyrics, Verse 1 would name-drop Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts (though the metering and rhyming would be a b*tch).
I was almost dizzy when I laid eyes on that box. Two cherished experiences from my childhood suddenly merged – running after the Good Humor truck and downing Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts for breakfast (or any time, actually).
I’m 62 and fat, so probably the last thing I need are Pop Tart-flavored Good Humor bars. But there was no internal debate. That box went straight into my shopping cart. I know myself. If I didn’t buy them, I would obsess and eventually be forced to make a special trip (which is not easy in the COVID-19 era). So I spared myself the torture.
The marketing gimmick of crossover branding is hardly new. Think Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup-flavored Breyer’s Ice Cream, or Swedish Fish-flavored Oreos. (Both are realities.)
Kellogg’s has always been creative with its extensive Pop Tart line, which premiered in 1964. There have even been Jolly Rancher-variety Pop Tarts (in cherry, watermelon and green apple), though they must have been pretty disgusting. My local Wegmans put them on clearance for 44 cents a box. Even I didn’t buy them at that giveaway price.
Considering Pop Tarts’ wide experience with creative varieties, this collaboration with Good Humor should be a slam dunk, right?
I opened one the moment I returned home. First red flag: The bar didn’t look like it does on the box art. The crumbly coating is much more present and defined on the promo art than it is in real life.
I sampled the bar. There was a faint note of cinnamon, but it seemed more like Good Humor’s Toasted Almond bar. It certainly didn’t taste remotely Pop Tart-y. I resolved to try again in the morning.
The verdict on the next bar I ate? Same thing. Just a wisp of cinnamon flavor. Nothing like a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart, in flavor or texture.
I wasn’t merely disappointed; I felt duped. I can’t imagine this bar passing the harsh scrutiny of a focus group. This felt like a cash grab.
Maybe I was expecting a miracle. But ya know what? The box promised one. M***er f***ers, don’t call it a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart-flavored Good Humor bar if it ain’t one. Just call it a “kind of cinnamon” bar. Fail!
P.S.: This year marks the 100th birthday of Good Humor, so I forgive you.