DALLAS – After more than 100 years and 23 billion tiny toys, Cracker Jack is no longer adding those traditional surprises to its packages of caramel-coated popcorn.
Plano-based Frito Lay, which owns the iconic brand, is replacing little plastic toys, temporary tattoos and the like, with a QR code on a sticker that links to mobile games customers can play.
"The Cracker Jack Prize Inside has been as much a part of the nostalgia and love for the brand as the unforgettable combination of caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts," said Haston Lewis, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay in a news release on Monday. "The new Prize Inside allows families to enjoy their favorite baseball moments through a new one-of-a-kind mobile experience, leveraging digital technology to bring the iconic Prize Inside to life."
But to play one of the four games available, customers must download the Blippar app before scanning the prize sticker.
The change has upset Crack Jack aficionados. Just take a look at the company’s Facebook page.
“Huge baseball fan, huge computer guy... but this? Nope. Don't tout 120 year of tradition on your website including the surprise inside and then have it be a code that you have to have a device and internet access to enjoy,” wrote Bruce Peak on Cracker Jack’s Facebook page. “Cracker Jack is old school comfort. And should remain so. Not everything needs to be techie and xtreeeeeeme.” [sic]
“It's not a prize... it's click bait to more advertising,” Ron Jaffe added to Cracker Jack’s Facebook comments.
The stickers with a QR code debut in stores this month, said Frito Lay.
The updated packaging has “a red and white striped pattern with a youthful Sailor Jack and his sidekick pup, Bingo, as the logo,” the company announced.
Cracker Jack started in Chicago in 1893. Toys were added in 1912.