Every bit as important as a candy bar’s taste is its name.
No fooling; just like movies, candy bars can suffer or benefit from a really cool moniker. Don’t think so? “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Ronin” are two awesome movies that suffered at the box office as a result of having terrible titles. Similarly, nobody comments on how delicious nougat is, its importance and deliciousness notwithstanding.
Here are six candy bars — three that have terrible names, but are delicious, and three that have awesome names, but aren’t so great — that prove my point.
3. Zagnut Bar — I looked it up, and, contrary to popular belief, a Zagnut is not the thing that bursts out of that dude’s chest in the movie “Alien.” Nor is it a fertilized egg. That’s a zygote. And who wants to eat that? Not this kid. Anyway, Zagnut is a peanut butter and roasted coconut confection that needs to be re-branded for its own good. I can say “no” to a Zagnut. But I can’t say ‘no to the “Holy *&^@#! This is Freakin’ Delicious Bar.” I call upon its manufacturers to make this so posthaste.
2. Zero Bar — How many positive things can you derive from the word “zero?” Is your answer, ahem, zero? True story: We had a guy in my fraternity whose pledge nickname was Zero. No one liked him. NO ONE. And for good reason. The guy had the personality of a hermit crab and he was a Mets fan to boot. Come to think of it, “no personality” and “Mets fan” are redundant.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the caramel, almond and peanut nougat candy bar doused in white fudge. Does that sound like nothing to you? Yeah, me neither. If Hershey wanted to be ironical, why not have it tie in to a Bret Easton Ellis novel and call it the “Less than Zero Bar?”
And the truth shall set you free.
1. Toffifay — Imagine, if you will, the following scene playing out on high school campuses across the country:
High Schooler #1: Yo, dawg, whachoo eatin’?
High Schooler #2: Toffif -- (gets punched in the face by High Schooler #1 for not being cool. Riots ensue.)
Who wants that? No, you can’t be a hipster by eating something called Toffifay. How about assigning an edgier name to the caramel/chocolate/almond candy, like Toffi-Bomb-Diggity? You’re welcome, America.
OK, conversely, there are some candy bars that aren’t so special, but have terrific names. Consider the following:
3. Payday — Who doesn’t look forward to payday? It doesn’t matter if you are Joe the Plumber or Warren Buffet, we all want to see more cheddar in our bank accounts. So this is a piece of marketing genius from someone who obviously tasted this awful candy bar consisting of salted peanuts, caramel and the tears of angels.
Whenever I eat a Payday, I feel like someone has garnished my wages. (Anyone who wants to use that one, go right ahead. I won’t even require you to sign a waiver.)
2. Whatchamacallit — I’m trying to figure out if there is a candy bar out there that has benefited more from lazy marketing than this one.
Marketer #1 - Dude, we have to come up with some name for this turd of a candy bar and our meeting was five minutes ago. I have no earthly idea what this tastes like other than a poor man’s Kit Kat bar.
Marketer #2 - (Panicked while updating his resume) Whatarewegoingtocallit?
Marketer #1 - That’s it! Whatchamacallit! It’ll sound whimsical, which candy is! Plus, we don’t have to explain what’s in this freakin’ thing. Ugh, I think they’re eating a hole in my stomach, like I have a zagnut in my belly.
Marketer #2 - I think you are thinking of xenomorph from the movie "Alien," which won’t be released for another year from now (Whatchamacallits were released in 1978, "Alien" was in movie theaters in 1979). Zagnut bars are delicious. Read the first part of this column, man!
1. 100 Grand — I go back to the Payday argument for this awful candy. Tie your candy name to a bunch of dough, and you have a winner.
No one could get away with Penny Candy or the $2 Bill Bar. But someone struck gold (over $100,000 worth?) with this candy bar's name.
100 Grand bars, formerly known as $100,000 Bars, are delicious for the first bite. But after finishing the caramel, chocolate, crispy rice candy bar, I feel as though I’ve eaten a pound of sand. Oh, and unless you get a fresh bar, the caramel is usually hard as a rock. Nothing tougher than eating a hard 100 Grand, other than perhaps a box of Milk Duds.
Even though they are awful, and despite what they do to me, I keep buying them. I see the red wrapper, I read 100 Grand and I hear it’s clarion call.
Then I get sick for the rest of the day.
(Portions of this column were repurposed from a Daily 5 column in The Granbys also written by Ted Glanzer)