It’s like 1984 for frozen drink treats….


By Shawn Robare

Wow, so Hoover just tipped me off to an interesting tidbit in the mythology that is frozen drink treats. In addendum to the series of entries I did reviewing various frozen drinks (you can find them all at the end of this blog entry), I’ve now learned that the Icee company, owned by J&J Snack Foods, acquired the Slush Puppie company (or logo, trademark, whatever) from Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages Company for an undisclosed amount. I’m apparently very late to the party with this bit of news seeing as how it happened last year in June.

So there is one less company floating around in the frozen drink game. This is just another in a long list of corporate mergers that I think is kind of sad in terms of branding because it’s one more choice that is little more than an illusion in terms of product loyalty. Now in the grand scheme of things and in the world today worrying about brand loyalty is pretty stupid and unimportant. I am well aware that there are many more important and terrible things going on, and yada yada yada.

I can’t ignore that I was raised in a world where branding was hard to ignore, I mean how many people out there are “Coke” people while the others are “Pepsi” (I doubt there are enough “store brand” loyalists out there for me to mention them, oh crap, I guess I just did)? It’s not like we’re going to go to war over it, but in a restaurant, when ordering a refreshing beverage to wash down a nice meal and you politely ask for a Coke and the waitress or waiter replies, “I’m sorry we only have Pepsi…”, doesn’t a very small part of you just fall for a second before saying, “That’s cool, I’ll have one of those.”

Well when I see companies and products merged under one roof, I can’t help but think that somewhere behind the curtain the product that is being produced just doesn’t matter as much anymore, I mean Matchbox, Hotwheels, it’s all just little toy cars (well not really, but I’m sure it is under Matel’s eyes), it’s all units shipped and stuff. I mean, if it’s cost efficient, just ship the same toys in different packaging and no one will mind. When I was working at a grocery store in the 90′s I learned that the store-brand frozen veggies were actually the same exact frozen veggies that a huge major brand were selling, that the grocery chain had the “major brand company” provide the contents and just packaged them in their own store-brand packaging and sold it for less because they could afford to. So at the end of the day, it didn’t matter which frozen green beans I picked up, it was all the same thing. That if I took more than a few seconds choosing between the two it was a complete waste of time because there really was no choice, just the illusion of one, and to me that’s kind of sad.

Obviously there is a big difference between a Slush Puppie and an Icee, and I don’t even particularly like Slush Puppies, hell they could probably do nothing but benefit from Icee owning them, but I know that there are people out there that love Slush Puppies and if down the road a bit it become apparent that the profit margin for Icee is higher than SP’s, that if keeping the option open to choose between the two is unprofitable, Slush Puppie will be fazed out.

I think I’m thinking about this too hard. Hey look, CHiPs is coming out on DVD….

  • HooveR

    Thanks for the link in there about the merger details, I was too lazy to look that up. I think I would have known sooner, but Icee only updates their website like once a year or so. Hell, I do that; who’s their webmaster?!? On the one hand, I relate to what you’re saying– monopolies (or pseudo-monopolies) are rarely good. But being an Icee loyalist, I have to give them props. Who knows when they bought Arctic Blast (possibly that was ALWAYS theirs, but I kinda doubt it), but it seems that was step one in the plans for Icee global domination, now Slush Puppie seems to be step two. I don’t think given their relationship with Slurpees it would be possible to engulf them as well, but if the frozen drink landscape is played on a RISK-board, I’d say Icee is winning. And that’s good for me. Hey, I don’t care for sports; I have to root for SOMEONE.