Little Mikey and Pop Rocks
Pop Rocks were introduced to the market in 1974 and were an instant success for General Foods. A truly “fun” candy, they released trapped gas in the wet environment of the mouth, thereby creating a tingling sensation. They had the same effervescent quality as Fizzies or Alka-Seltzer except that they were made to be eaten as is, not diluted in water.
How Little Mikey, of all people, became connected with Pop Rocks, and why anybody would think they could be lethal, is one of the oldest mysteries in consumer public relations. It drove General Foods nuts when it struck. In 1979, the assailed manufacturer bought full-page ads in several newspapers in which the candy’;s inventor, William A. Mitchell, extolled its safety without once mentioning Little Mikey. The product was discontinued in 1983 but quietly reappeared in 1985 as Action Candy after Kraft Foods bought the manufacturer.
At last report, John Gilchrist was doing very well, thank you, as an advertising executive for CBS. So is Quaker Life, which in the late 1990s retooled their classic commercial to star, and to appeal to, 20-somethings.