Monday, October 3, 2016

All Cracker Jacked Up

Few brand names enjoy as cozy of a relationship as Cracker Jack does with baseball.  Outside of a hotdog with all the proper dressings, can you name a concession item that screams baseball louder than Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo's caramel popcorn and peanut mixture?  I mean, we ritually sing about this crunchy treat in the middle of the seventh inning at pretty much every major, minor and college ballpark across the country, after all.

Now, who among us didn't get excited for a bag of Cracker Jack when we were kids?  As tasty as the treat is, I think we can all agree that it wasn't the popcorn that got us all riled up (though that wasn't bad either).  Of course, it was the promissory prize contained within that iconic red, white and blue packaging which had our full attention.

Since the product's inception in 1896, kids have been able to pull decoder rings, stickers, temporary tattoos, and, best of all, baseball cards from the sticky boxes and bags.  At some point, I'm pretty sure that they also gave away driver's licenses, based on the way some people drive around Chicago.

While wandering the aisles of the local grocer over the weekend, the inner kid in me was craving some junk food and, coincidentally, noticed a proclamation calling out for attention from a bag of baseball's best foodie friend:

*NEW* prize inside, you say?  Well, do tell me more Mr. Sailor Jack - you've caught my interest:

Hmmm... it appears as though the 19th century treat is now dabbling with 21st century technology.  It's good to see them getting back to their baseball roots with their prizes and I'm sure kids today are more interested in something new they can play with on their smart phone than a lousy foil sticker; that said, my eyes were immediately drawn to one of those games in particular.  I've highlighted it above with a bold, red arrow.

"Get Carded - Virtual Card Creator!"

Okay, that sounds like something I can get behind.  I mean, I was going to buy a snack anyway - why not make some custom baseball cards along with it?  That's a pretty nice bonus, in my humble opinion.  So, once I got home, I opened the bag, scarfed it all down like a hungry dog and then examined my prize.

Seems a bit unnecessary to tell me about the new prize inside on the packet, since I'm already holding said prize; but, what do I know?

Apparently, in order to use this service, I had to download an augmented reality application knwon as "Blipp."  It's similar to Pokemon Go, in this app, you aim your camera at the world around you and you can see stuff that isn't really there.  Once you open up "Blipp" and aim the camera on your smart phone at the sticker to the right, a graphic appears and you are presented with the option of playing one of the four advertised, baseball-themed games.

However, it appears as though you only get access to one per purchase, which makes sense from Cracker Jack's point of view.  Good thing I got that card generator or I'd have been uber disappointed.  I can't stand that the dance cam, kiss cam, flex cam or what have you at real, live baseball games, let alone some virtual simulation at home.  Yuck.

So, I know you're wondering, how does generator work, eh?  Well, as I fully expected from a free prize in a bag of Cracker Jack, there's not much to it and you do not get much creative freedom:

You type in your name, pick a pose (but you don't get to truly pick your position), describe your playing style and your jersey number.  As you can see in the screen capture above, I opted for a picture at the plate, the attitude of Johnny (definitely not Charlie) Hustle, and the number with the best mojo in Chicago sports:  23.  Those two digits have graced the backs of such Windy City greats as Michael Jordan, Ryne Sandberg, Devin Hester and Jermaine Dye.  Obviously, there's something about that number.

At this point, the app asks you to stop and take a picture of your face. Then, your Cracker Jack/Blipp/Get Carded master computer takes all that data, crunches the numbers and spits out your very own custom baseball card!

Okay - it's definitely no Rookies App; nevertheless, it's pretty nifty for a Cracker Jack bonus.  

Also, let's not gloss over those fantastic numbers that I put up during the 2015 baseball season:  .738 batting average, 98 homers and 120% hustle (whatever that means - I think Hawk Harrelson had some creative input).  Reality be damned - I'm like Josh Gibson, Ted Williams and Pete Rose all rolled into one.

Predictably, you're then invited to plaster this image across all social media platforms (free advertising!).  As far as a physical copy goes, there's no option to buy a print of your custom card; I'm sure the offices of Frito Lay aren't prepared to deal with that.

At any rate, I decided to take that sticker and affix it to the side of one of my storage boxes, just in case I feel the urge to create a quick, statistically outlandish baseball card of anyone else I know.  I already tried with the fiancee, but she was decidedly unimpressed.

All in all, I got more enjoyment out of this Cracker Jack prize than I did the bits of trivia and riddles  on scraps of paper that they were attempting to pass off as prizes when I was a kid.  That said, I'm still holding on to that desperate hope that the brand will someday resuscitate it's baseball card giveaways, something it hasn't done since 1992.  Although, I'm sure the licensing rights would keep that from being a profitable venture.

Oh well - at least the confectionery is still tasty... and I learned that I have the slugging ability of Herman Munster.

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea Cracker Jack was so hip with the times. Or something like that...