Bazooka Joe gets downsized

The eyepatch-wearing mascot's comic strip gets booted from the famous bubble gum as Bazooka tries to win new fans.

By Kim Peterson Dec 4, 2012 6:04PM
Bazooka products (Topps Company)Say goodbye to the Bazooka Joe comic. We'll miss those goofy jokes wrapped around the rock-hard Bazooka bubble gum from our childhoods.

Bazooka Joe's comic strip is leaving bubble gum land, shuttered into semi-retirement as kids nowadays have little recognition for the character or his humor. Bazooka bubble gum is in the midst of a massive overhaul, and will now come in redesigned packaging that looks modern and interesting and not at all like the simple red, white and blue wrappers of the past.

Bazooka's owner, Topps, is trying to figure out what to do now that U.S. sales of bubble gum have popped. Sales are likely dropping to $207 million this year from $332 million in 2007, The New York Times reports. For Bazooka, the numbers are extremely grim: Sales are pegged at just $8.8 million this year, a 48% drop from 2007.

"What we’re trying to do with the relaunch is to make the brand relevant again to today’s kids," Bazooka executive Anthony Trani told the Times.

In these times, that means making the gum bigger -- from 4.5 grams to 6 grams -- and giving it a new blue raspberry flavor in addition to the original flavor. And it means making the package much splashier, with bright pink, blue, neon yellow and white coloring. The new package will contain 10 pieces instead of single packs, the Times reports.

Bazooka hasn't advertised in five years, and as a result, practically no young person remembers the eyepatch-wearing Bazooka Joe, his cohort Mort, or the spectrum of corny zingers they brought to the wrappers.

"Last night I dreamed I was eating a giant marshmallow!" Mort said to Joe in one comic. "So?" Joe asked. "So when I woke up this morning. . .my pillow was gone!" Mort responded. Ta-dum-dum.

Only 7% of children age 6 to 12 know who Bazooka Joe is, the Times reports. Now, Bazooka wrappers will have brainteasers, craft ideas and codes that work on the website.

Bazooka Joe and Mort can still be found on the new wrappers and on the Bazooka website, but the comic-strip insert that was home to their jokes will be gone.

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Dec 4, 2012 7:28PM
My father is a barber in Athens Georgia and for the last 50 years and more he has given a piece of Bazooka Gum to every child as a reward for being good after a haircut.  
Dec 4, 2012 8:02PM
Maybe Bazooka needs an iPhone app that buys, opens, chews and spits the gum out without any interaction from today's lazy children ... of all ages. America has no legacy.
Dec 4, 2012 9:00PM
aw come on.not BAZOOKA JOE .now they are messing w/ my childhood.dammit!
Dec 4, 2012 10:56PM
I've been cataloging every Bazooka Joe comic ever made. Guess my work will soon be over. :-(
Dec 5, 2012 3:37AM
Bummer. I always loved Bazooka Joe. Was my favorite gum as a kid.
Dec 5, 2012 11:46AM
That crap was a dentists best friend!  Chaaaa Ching
Dec 5, 2012 12:32PM
I have dentures. Thanks a lot, Joe.
Dec 5, 2012 12:59PM

I never see it in the stores.  I was wondering if it was still around.  Last time i bought some it was 1 cent each.

Dec 4, 2012 8:56PM
Looks like I'll have to check under desks and on the sidewalks for the classic.
Dec 4, 2012 6:56PM
So instead of the comic they will have XP points for video games inside? Guess I'm not getting a check for that brilliant advice am I?
Dec 4, 2012 7:03PM
avatar will the old stuff be worth any $ sometime?
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