In a can
packaging has always been a tricky one for most companies I imagine.
After all, how do you make your sweets really stand out from every
other packet on the shelf? Every chocolate bar pretty much looks
the same and most are the same size and shape, so packaging really
is everything - that and a gimmick.
You’d have thought
Rowntree had it cracked with Smarties long ago. No other sweets
came in a tube. They were easy to open, and you could eat some,
pop the lid back on and save the rest for later; unless you were
a greedy kid, where they were probably all gone in one tip of the
Ease Of Opening
This ‘ease of opening’ also had it’s downside
though, I clearly remember being given a tube of Smarties after
school when I was about 6, popping them open with a little bit too
much enthusiasm and the little bastards flying everywhere. And just
to add insult to injury, the path leading out of the school up to
where all the parents met their kids was on a hill, so being the
lovely UFO shape they are, the swine’s started rolling down
the hill. Suffice to say the tears came thick and fast.
And I wasn’t
the only victim in this cruel trick of fate. I saw many a child
- eyes welled up with tears as their lovely round candy trundled
down the hill, only to be picked up and eaten by those less deserving.
Well, you know what kids are like, not only are they cruel little
bastards, but they’ll eat anything short of it being covered
But now Nestle are
calling the shots, and it seems they’ve hit upon this fantastic
idea that can only go down as ‘a stupid idea’ and get
some designer fired along the line. Anyway, it’s a new millennium,
and this calls for forward thinking. So maybe this is a genuine
idea, or maybe it’s just one big prank – akin to that
trick gum that’s really a sort of mousetrap – but here
we have Smarties in a can.
Combining two themes
kids love, sugar coated chocolate discs and fizzy soft drinks, Smarties
in a can could be deceiving at first. Is it a drink; is it a confectionary
– who knows? Well, one touch of the ‘can’ will
tell you it’s probably sweets as the thing is made of plastic.
A further shake will confirm those suspicions by the familiar rattling
sound only Smarties can produce – oh ok, M&M’s too.
Well, firstly don’t let the size deceive you. The can is about
the same size as those disappointingly small cans of pop kids get
in their sandwich boxes, which, before I open the thing, leads me
to believe it’ll contain mini Smarties as opposed to the full-sized
beasts. But alas, it IS the normal ones. See, they could have gone
for the full ‘mini’ theme there with the size of the
can reflecting the size of the Smarties within. Some people just
don’t think things through.
Well the can is opened
and I can only say I’m confused. What the hell is going on
with this ringpull? It certainly doesn’t come off and it just
sort of flops around. At first I thought it may click back into
place so you could reseal it, but no, the thing is looser than a
drunken council estate schoolgirl.
But just as I’m laying into it, the whole idea becomes apparent
- tip the can upside down and the weight of the Smarties pushes
the ring back into place. Genius! Of course, I wouldn’t test
this out myself, and I have visions of kids’ schoolbags being
overrun with rogue Smarties due to the failure of the floppy ring
Well I thought I’d
come across another problem here. It seems that the genius of the
self-closing ring-pull idea had it’s downside, that being
when you tipped the can up to pour the delectable candy into your
mitt, the ring pull closes, denying you the sugar-coated goodness.
But looking at the
puzzle from a different angle reveals that simply holding the ring-pull
open allows the sweets the slip freely from their plastic prison
into warming freedom of the hand. Ah, those Nestle scientists certainly
had their heads firmly screwed on when designing this bad boy.
Anyway, despite all
that nonsense there is a distinct problem when all the Smarties
are gone. What are you meant to do with the empty can? To me it’s
just a big waste of plastic, especially in a time where we should
be a little more resourceful. I suppose lopping off the top could
turn it into a pen pot or something, but like kids are going to
be THAT resourceful. At least the original tubes are made of card
and the plastic top has that letter on the underside so it could
be collected. This can thing is just a waste though. So in the bin
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