Cracker Jacks, Chicago, Marx, Frito-Lay and Junk Food. A Century of PROGRESS ????
When I was a child and received a BOOK inside my Cracker Jacks box, it was a disappointment. You can't blame the company for this one though…when the Century of Progress exhibition was in Chicago, it was in the hometown of Cracker Jacks and they were appropriately proud. I'm surprised they didn't "jack" up the size of the surprise toy, but this little fella is only around two inches long.
One of the powers of the internet (and the reason both that my blogs are successful and I have space left to live in) is that what was physical small can be huge on the web. I'm blowing the little booklet up to epic proportions, the way the artist and the fair were intended…and if Cracker Jacks wants to sue me, good luck, I'm broke.
Cracker Jacks was born in Chicago and not long after, Take Me Out to the Ballgame came along and gave them all the advertising they needed. "Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks" is running through your head now, and you don't even hear it. THAT is good advertising.
Cracker Jacks is still one of my favorite foods. Even though it is now owned by the evil despot known as Frito-Lay. I don't need to find the latest data…as this statistic from several years ago will suffice. Frito-Lay has 40% of the world's snack food market. FORTY PERCENT!
Do you have ANY IDEA how many effing bags of chips that is? Forty percent of the snack market in the ENTIRE WORLD? Borden wanted to buy Cracker Jacks, but Frito-Lay had the bucks to big higher, and they did. Frito-Lay can not stand to have anyone else in the business making crunchy things. I'll go on record here and say that's just wrong.
Marx did not realize large companies would gobble up smaller companies like snacks. Or in this case, like junk food, which is what Frito-Lay sells. Some sources claim Cracker Jacks was the world's first junk food, but neither Marx or anyone else could have predicted the development of junk food. Like "cool ranch" crap, which as nothing to do with a ranch. Or why snack food advertisements almost never have obese actors playing the part. Snack food ads always have young, healthy, involved and frequently horny kids crunching away, seemingly ready to bring the girl home from the laundry as soon as the chips are gone.
Ha Ha Ha! MONKEYS!
When Marx was calculating the brutal effect capitalism would have on the masses, he got his crackers out of a barrel that was shipped from down the street. What HAS been calculated, though by food scientists rather than political thinkers, is that human beings have a affinity for crunch and salt which borders on obsessive. Frito-Lay simply feeds that need, right? Well…maybe so…but I would like to think there is more than one snack food company in the world. Somehow it just tastes unhealthy.
Tiny Cracker Jacks Miniature Book Prize No Date (1933 - 1934) Collection Jim Linderman