Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Ah, Dunkaroos. That is, a dual-chamber compartmentalized plastic snack container housing kangaroo-shaped cookies and sweet, sweet frosting. The marketing department at Betty Crocker clearly took a pretty literal approach with their concise yet didactic slogan: "You Don't Just Eat...You Dunk-a-Roo!" And Roos we did dunk. In fact, we dunked to with such zeal and fervor that a web search for "Dunkaroos" leads you to forum after forum where passionate Dunkaroo devotees discuss and debate the various black-market methods of procuring bootleg snacks from their 90s childhoods.
Yes, those were simpler times. These days, the current fanaticism surrounding this simple cookie-and-frosting snacktime combo impels Dunkaroo enthusiasts to scour amazon.com and discount stores to locate these discountinued delights. Whether chocolate, vanilla, or the late-era cookies and cream flavor struck your fancy, these were a kid's dream. Imagine, a conveniently packaged snack featuring absolutely no natural ingredients and negligible nutritional value.
For some inexplicable reason, this cookie-and-frosting combo was paired with a sharp-dressed and surprisingly formal Australian Kangaroo mascot sporting a hat, vest, and tie. You have to wonder what that marketing meeting was like:
"Alright team, we've got these cookies with a frosting dip. What's the logical leap for our big ad campaign launch? I say we go the Australian angle, you know how those Aussies love their prepackaged frosting-laden snacks. Better yet, let's make it a kangaroo with an Australian accent. That's more appropriate, really. And can we dress him up a bit? Let's be real here people, a kangaroo wouldn't just go about eating sweets bareheaded sporting shirtsleeves. That's it, a hat and tie will really emphasize the deliciousness."
Ahh...there's nothing like a half-sung, half-spoken painfully literal description of a snack food to get the hunger juices flowing.
Mascot aside (because let's be real, most of our childhood foods were actively promoted by randomly generated anthropormorphic cartoon rabbits, cavemen, leprechauns, and their ilk), Dunkaroos were a phenomenon. These were the food to pull out at snack time. Your cheap handi-snack knockoff cookies-and-cream pack were essentially an affront to the valid cookie and frosting snack community.
The most bizarre part was, at the height of their popularity, the Dunkaroos people launched a contest to replace their loveable if oddly matched mascot, Sydney, with...wait for it...another kangaroo. I know they're called Dunkaroos, but really. The parameters of this contest, endearingly titled the "Dunk-a-Roos Kangaroo Kanga-Who Search," essentially requested from their loyal fans the most incremental image change possible. I present to you, Duncan, the dunkin' daredevil. Like all other cartoon food mascots, the majority of his life is devoted to being thwarted by obstacles in an attempt to eat a food that the rest of us can just pick up in our neighborhood grocery store.
So there you have it...Dunkaroos. As their then new bad-boy mascot (as denoted by presence of backwards cap) rides into the abyss on a roaring motorcycle, so too must we leave behind this delicious snack from days of yore in a cloud of cookie dust. That is, unless you're willing to risk life and limb by ordering discontinued snack food on amazon.com for purely nostalgic reasons.
According to my google search, most of you are willing to take that risk. Dunk safely, children of the 90s. Dunk safely.