Extra Thin Ice
How much further can you really take Gum?
It’s a tough one to think about, and a question that’s
clearly been tormenting the brains of the Wrigley’s R&D
department for quite some time. “Lets see now, we’ve
got Peppermint, Spearmint…shit, shit, SHIT! Why didn’t
we see this coming!?”
Of course they’ve
invented other flavours to show that there’s more to mint
than peppers and spears – ‘Winterfresh’ for example,
and then Airwaves, probably one of the better ideas, incorporating
the magic of menthol to clear those stuffy winter blockages. And
with enough chewing, doubling up as a handy sedative. Chew, chew,
chew…now go operate some heavy machinery.
But now several years
later, and I’m sure many a battle with the people over at
Halls and Tunes, they’re found themselves, once again, in
a rut. And just like most other companies out there, Wrigley’s
found that they needed to tap into youth culture, the act of ‘chewing
to look cool’ and the sedative effect just wasn’t enough.
Sony managed this pretty
well in the late-mid nineties with PlayStation. Remember those console
pods turning up in clubs? Up until then gaming had been pretty much
just for kids – now it had a cool chic that appealed to the
twenty-something’s. Not only did they tap into club culture,
but also - although ultimately part of the same scene – drug
culture too, not just through the music and club kudos it associated
itself with, but with the perforated postcards which were, by remarkable
coincidence, just the right size for roaches, and the metal cocaine
cutting business cards.
Now I’m sure Wrigley’s never thought
they could gain credibility with the same crowd here. After all,
the answer “We’re going back to mine for a bit of Wipeout
on the PlayStation” is a socially respectable answer to the
question “So what are you guys up to after the club?”,
but “We’re going back to mine to ‘do’ some
Juicy Fruit” could lose you friends at the drop of a hat.
And then get your hat stolen too.
And wee’d on.
Perhaps I’m being a bit over the top here, but I’m just
trying to understand why Wrigley’s have made ‘Thin Ice’
and the influences behind it; because essentially, it’s the
minty equivalent of doing acid.
Now I just want to go on record as saying that
I don’t do drugs, nor have I ever – and anyone that
knows me personally will back me up on that one – but I am
aware of what goes on, and so, apparently, are Wrigley’s.
‘Extra: Thin Ice’ is a strange sort
of mint. You may have seen the adverts by now, and it is quite certainly
a gimmick, which is fine by me – I love gimmicks. They will
almost certainly be mentioned in an ‘I love…”
program in about 20 years time. For the most of us we’ll watch
and reminisce with that warm, fuzzy feeling about how funny mints
were in 2003, but Wrigley’s on the other hand will no doubt
be crying into their robotic hands.
It’s hard to
describe, but each pack contains 24‘sheets’. These little
blue sheets are fairly plasticy, and when placed in the palm of
the hand start to curl like those Chinese fortune-telling fish.
You place a sheet onto your tongue and let it slowly dissolve into
a strange slippery gel-like substance – leaving you not only
with minty fresh breath, but an odd sort of rectangular blue tongue-tattoo
for a few moments.
Whether any of this gets absorbed into your
system is anyone’s guess. There don’t appear to be any
warnings on the packet about taking more than one either –
maybe it’ll turn up on Fear Factor sometime in the next series.
So why have Wrigley’s taken this wacky, hallucinogen influenced
route? Have you noticed how you don’t see mini extra-strong
mints anymore? Or Polo centres? I’m guessing the containers
were the perfect device for carrying pills into clubs – so
maybe they were stopped. “But!” said Wrigley’s
“how about we make a device for smuggling in acid? That’ll
get us in with the club crowd” and so Thin Ice was born.
Alright maybe not – but it might have
happened like that. Either way, someone was whacked out on magic
monkey juice when they came up with this one. It was ‘deadline
for a new idea’ time at Wrigley’s that month and this
is the curiosity they came up with. And you just know that, rushed
for time, the prototype was a sheet of rice paper that had been
smeared with toothpaste or marinated in mouthwash.
Despite my local shop
selling out of them in a couple of days I’m not sure it’s
going to catch on. At 85p a pack they certainly don’t last
long. Nor do you feel very satisfied after having one. Plus I got
some very odd looks on the tube taking one the other day. “Stay
away from that guy, he’s doing some minty acid right in the
middle of the train!”, or more realistically “Stay away
from that guy, he’s actually gone out and bought some Wrigley’s
Extra Thin Ice!”
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