Monday, June 02, 2008

Bring Back the Zonkers!

I was prowling the library shelves for books about the 1960s and came across one simply called 60s! by John and Gordon Gavna (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1983). I opened it randomly and saw Screaming Yellow Zonkers! (The exclamation point is part of the product name.) The snack was inspired by the Beatles' animated movie Yellow Submarine. I mentioned Zonkers! to my wife and asked her if she remembered them, and she said, "Screaming Yellow Zonkers! Mmm."

Unlike a lot of 1960s snack food creations, Zonkers! actually tasted good. They were a glazed-popcorn treat much like Poppycock and Fiddle-Faddle. But the combination of the glaze and the creative name made Screaming Yellow Zonkers! a hit for Lincoln Snacks, a Lincoln, Nebraska based company. I hadn't seen the snack in a long time and assumed it had died with the Sixties. Not so, I learned from Wikipedia. They were available until 2007, when ConAgra purchased Lincoln Snacks and immediately discontinued the line.

ConAgra needs to rethink its decision. I suspect that Zonkers! lost popularity mainly because they weren't promoted. A creative ad campaign--Zonkers! were always about creativity--could make this product a hit with a new generation, along with the millions of Baby Boomers who already love them. What about it, ConAgra?

12 comments:

Lisa said...

I LOVED Screaming Yellow Zonkers! Not only were they delicious, but just saying the name can't help but put a person in a whimsical state of mind.

Julie said...

lol - Steve, I called in and thought I'd hit the wrong blog!

Good to see you on mine. Life is murder my end for various reasons though it may ease up in a few weeks. Hoping to post some shots of Oxford over the next few days.

Cheers, Julie

Charles Gramlich said...

I do not recall these. I have to say, they look kind of disgusting to me.

SzélsőFa said...

What a provocative name. We don't have those here, but there are many kinds of popcorn.

steve said...

Lisa--Coulsn't agree more.

Julie--It's a little different frm my usual posts. I looked at your first Oxford posts--Logic Lane is quite something. I'm looking forward to any shots of Oriel College, the hotbed of Anglo-Catholicism in the 1830s.

Charles--If you don't like Poppycock or Fiddle-Faddle, you probablyl woudn't have liked Zonkers!

Szelsofa--I think this was strictly an American snack. It was popcorn with a butter-sugar glaze.

bart said...

never heard of these but they seem like a typically lovely, way out sixties thing indeed :-))

keep well...

twoblueday said...

Another product with high fructose corn syrup bites the dust!

steve said...

Bart--It's the name and the creativity (artists werepaid to design some of the boxes) that made the snack unique. It was pretty much the same as Poppycock but without the nuts.

Gerry--Maybe, but high-fructose corn sweeteners had nothing to do with the product's demise. Dropping Zonkers! won't improve Americans' health. It just makes American snacks less fun.

Catherine said...

Ah I remember them and i loved them! Talk about a blast from the past!

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

Only a firm with a name like ConAgra would have the heartlessness to get rid of Zonkers!

Such a strong brand, appealing to Boomers who have more disposable income (I'm not a case in point) than other generations. Such positive connotations . . . I'd use the name to sell something expensive.

steve said...

Peter--That would be the logical thing. But then, your first comment may explain it all. A look at the Wikipedia article on ConAgra wasn't encouraging.