Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Push Pops and Ring Pops


Tracking lollipop trends can be an arduous undertaking best left to professionals. With all the ups and downs in the hard candy market, it's tough to say which models will stick. Figuratively, that is. Literally, everything will end up pretty sticky.

Novelty candies were all the rage in the 80s and 90s. Everything had a gimmick. It was no longer enough for a candy simply to be delicious; now it needed to have entertainment value as well. Competition in the confectionery consumer marketplace was fierce, meaning candy companies were under pressure to produce new and innovatively packaged materials that would appeal to children on multiple levels.

To do so, candy makers had to think outside the box. That is to say, they needed to alter the packaging to make it externally palatable (though with the hope that children would not attempt to consume that as well). Suddenly, sweets weren't just sugary junk food, they were toys: bona fide sources of classroom distraction and playground entertainment.

Of the new* multifaceted lollipops available, ring pops had a pretty widespread appeal. And the convenience! You didn't even have to hold anything, as the candy itself was cemented to the base of a plastic ring. And of course, here's nothing quite like teaching a girl to grow to expect the equivalent of a 20 carat rock on her finger from a young age.


Ring pops were novelty as its finest. You got to wear your food. Short of candy necklaces, this was pretty much the most exciting jewelry-themed treat on the market. The commercial below, however, is the tiniest bit disturbing when that little boy proposes to the girl by means of a ring pop in a velvet box. I'm sure they were going for cute, but it comes off a tad creepy. I mean, these kids are about seven years old. Why are we pushing candy marriage proposals?

That jingle is pretty catchy though:

"It's a lollipop, without a stick!
A ring of flavor you can lick!"


At the end when they display the hands bedecked in ring pops galore, it looks like a dream come true. It looks nearly as satisfying as decorating myself with all of the jewelry that came with my Pretty Pretty Princess board game, only it wins additional points for edibility:




You also have to love the way they redid this commercial for the late 90s. It's almost the exact same thing, only the teeniest bit jazzier. Maybe there had been some recent develop in synthesizer technology by the time this baby aired. That's the only plausible explanation for not rereleasing the original:




Ring pops were admittedly on the girly side, so luckily the same company came out with a more gender neutral lollipop release. The Push Pop was supposed to be practical with its "save it for later" plastic cap, but looking back that whole concept makes me want to Purel the hell out of every corner my mouth. Sure, you had the ability to eat a candy over an extended period of time, but the sanitary/hygienic component was questionable. On the other hand, it sure beat my friend's pastime of preserving a jaw breaker over several days by leaving its spit-covered carcass in an open bowl on his desk. At least with push pops, the covers could keep out a higher percentage of the dust bunnies.

The underlying concept behind the push pop was that you could actually push up the candy from within the plastic tubular packaging, allowing you as the eater to control how much pop you'd like to expose. Theoretically you could cap the pop, call it a day, and come back to it later that week. It seemed, though, that this candy was made from the stickiest substance known to man. Not only that, but it seemed to form some sort of chemical glue-like bonding reaction when coupled with spit, its major means of disintegration.



Both Push Pops and Ring Pops came in all sorts of lab-created flavors that had relatively little in common with flavors found in nature. The cherry flavor had the added bonus of applying an unintentional bright coating of red color on your lips sans lipstick, but had the unfortunate downside of tasting like cough syrup. Another wildly popular flavor was blue raspberry, which for some reason has caught on in a big way as an artificial flavor. I'm not sure how to break it gently to these flavor scientists, but raspberries aren't blue. Ever.**

push pop Pictures, Images and Photos

Later incarnations came in flavors that definitely appealed to us as children but sound a little repulsive in our current state of well-advised judgment: bubble gum, cotton candy, green apple***, and the intentionally vague "citrus". Each of these flavors was ostensibly a huge commitment, as the amount of time and effort to consume the sheer quantity of hard candy available via ring or push pop was immense.

Truthfully though, this was the way we and our parents liked it. The candy had a two-pronged approach to keeping us occupied: the effort involved in actually consuming the slowly diminishing hard candy and the added value of its novelty features entertaining us. I must admit now it all seems a little overrated, but what do I know? I was more of a Chupa Chup girl.



*Okay, so they were introduced in 1977, but they were a novelty to children throughout the 80s and 90s **At least as far as I know and am too lazy to research otherwise ***Yes, I admit lots of people like green apple. But I challenge you to have a semi-traumatic experience with Smirnoff Green Apple vodka and not feel at least mildly repulsed by the flavor

40 comments:

Nic said...

Hehe! Brilliant post! I loved Push Pops! My mum never let me have them because she thought I'd swallow the whole thing so I had to get my dad to buy me them. See - a broken home can have huge benefits!!

CTB said...

My mouth is watering for this sugary deliciousness.

Jay Amabile said...

when both of these were first released they blew everyone's minds. It was literally like a revolutionary step in the candy world only comparable to electricity and the internet.

Emily said...

What about the whistle pops? I remember seeing these as prizes on various Nickelodeon game shows (usually as the prize should you fail to do anything but make it into the Mayan Temple on Legends of the Hidden Temple, or for completing the first obstacle on the Double Dare course)

Sunshinemeg said...

AWESOME!

Miss HoneyDew said...

Oh the push pop!!! It always got soooooo sticky!!!! I was definitely a ring pop girl!

Au Lapin Blanc said...

I loved that Push Pop song ...

KekeLynn said...

We always got ring pops at my uncle's softball games! I haven't had one in years!

Kris said...

Those commercials worked like a charm! Still do.

Badass Geek said...

Ever got your finger stuck in the base of a Push Pop? I have.

Not fun.

Moonjava said...

I loved ring pops when I was a kid! So yummy!

Mike K. said...

I remember I let my friend taste my push pop and my teacher made me throw it away. I'm still bitter.

Sarah said...

Spin pops were more of a late 90s thing, but were equally strange. You're too lazy to lick a sucker? No problem!
My inner environmentalist is cringing at the thought of a battery-powered sucker.

http://www.hasbro.com/common/images/products/1239136a581f_Main400.jpg

the pizza said...

haha..I like your challenge about a traumatic experience with green apple vodka. I up the challenge by saying it should mixed with boone's farm green apple.

Dani said...

I love ring pops! For some reason push pops also got too sticky for me to handle.

for the love of pictures said...

I loved ring pops and push pops, though they got a bit too sticky after a while. They sure were delicious though :)

Cafe Fashionista said...

To tell you the truth, I had a Ring Pop the other day. I still devour them sometimes. Plus, I have a passion for edible jewelry. I still wear candy necklaces and bracelets. And no, I'm not under the age of eight. :)

Optimistic Pessimist said...

delicious! makes me want to run out and grab one of these right now.

Andhari said...

I'm guilty of both, I always brought two push pops to school because i know one will be finished by my friends and I wasn't into sharing mine. The last time I had ring pop was my last birthday when a friend gave it to me as a sweet joke lol

Just Playing Pretend said...

I had a traumatic experience with a push pop once. I've never been the same.

Little Ms Blogger said...

The fact that you mentioned Purrell and Push Pops in the same sentence is hysterical

Brunch at Saks said...

I love this post! I totally remember these things! XOXO

Katie said...

Ring Pops! Those were the best, except for the fact that they got sticky goo all over your hands.

Andy said...

My girlfriend said that if I were to propose right now, I could get by with a ring pop, considering we haven't dated for a year yet.
But at a year, it goes up to a 1karat diamond.
I better get on that asap

Tracy-Girl said...

Your blog is so cute!! I used to LOVE push pops... in fact, I still do! :)

LiLu said...

I'm getting Maxie a ring pop for our wedding.

Lee Beth said...

Oh my I so love this blog. I totally look back on the nineties as so nostalgic and this was just an awesome post. This blog is so awesome. :)

Practically Perfect... said...

Oh yes, I loved push pops and ring pops. I was just talking to my mom about how I used to love getting these, ha ha!

mollymouse said...

love ring pops! the candy of my childhood... they gave them out for everything! all the different school and camp activities... there were always ring pops! LOL!

Hanako66 said...

lol push a push pop, push it for flavor...push a push pop, save some for later!

my parents wouldn't buy me these...my dad called them and lick o sticks "dirty candy"

Valerie said...

I was always a fan of sour warheads. And I still am a glutton for punishment.

Mr. Condescending said...

I'm with valerie on sour warheads!

Loved how you mentioned the ring pops prepped the girls to expect a large carat rock!

Elizabeth Marie said...

I loved push pops!!!! I WANT ONE!!!

Thomas said...

Strange but I am having one of those ring pops now...

ChinkyGirLMeL said...

And that is the reason why I had cavities when I was a kid! hehehe. =)

Lil' Woman said...

Yummm.. I must admit I had a couple ring pop marriages in my days! :) lol

Allison said...

Those were so glamorous and yummy.

What about the freaky candy cigarettes they had? so so wrong!

Pollyanna (formerly the Laughing Idiot) said...

I remember getting these at the roller-rink. It was soooo cool when mom gave you money to go to the canteen - we thought we were hot stuff.

On a side note, my girls (3 and 5) LOVE ring pops!

Paigealicious! said...

It's a juicy jewel of flavor...Ring Pop!

The Whiz Kid Forte said...

I'm sucking on a blue raspberry one while reading this. Now that I'm waist-wary, I'd treat myself to this once per month, just to relive my memories.

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