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Gatorade’s Gator Gum
Back in the late 1970s, a stroke of brilliance from the Gatorade team led them to venture into the realm of snacks, resulting in the creation of Gator Gum. This innovative product, initially produced by the Fleer Corporation, offered consumers the refreshing flavors of Gatorade in a chewable form, with options available in both lemon-lime and orange varieties. Its presence was prominently displayed in a supermarket circular, where the iconic Fleer Crown proudly adorned the packaging.
During its heyday in the 1970s, Gator Gum gained enough popularity to earn a spot on the coveted Halloween price list of "Treats by the Bag." As the decade drew to a close, Stokely-Van Camp, the company that owned Gatorade until 1983, entered into a long-term licensing agreement with Swell and Vicks to market Gator Gum. Consequently, the Fleer name gradually disappeared from the packaging, paving the way for a new era.
For almost a decade, Gator Gum was continuously manufactured, delighting consumers with its distinctive flavor and unique qualities. However, as the contract reached its expiration date in 1989, the gum's production and distribution became sporadic, eventually dwindling by the early 2000s. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to find any of it during this period, making it an elusive treasure for dedicated enthusiasts like myself.
While Gator Gum didn't reign as the most popular gum on the shelves, it cultivated a dedicated following among its fans. I can personally attest to its allure—it boasted an intensity of flavor that was simply unparalleled. The gum's powerful taste had the uncanny ability to make your mouth pucker, inducing an unexpected side effect of heightened salivation.
Alas, the gum's fleeting burst of flavor was its downfall. My friends and I became obsessed with this transient pleasure, often devouring an entire pack in less than 30 minutes. The gum cleverly marketed itself as a solution for "Dry Mouth" and featured captivating advertising campaigns that left a lasting impression. One such commercial from the early eighties remains etched in my memory, a testament to its impact.
The presence of Gator Gum on the candy shelf was nothing short of irresistible, thanks to its vivid green foil packaging adorned with an orange lightning bolt. Its allure was impossible to ignore, drawing both loyal fans and curious passersby. While Gatorade continued to produce other successful products throughout the years, the revival of Gator Gum has yet to materialize. Sadly, the chances of seeing it grace the shelves once more seem slim, but one can always indulge in the hope of a nostalgic comeback, where dreams might just become reality.