Bubble Yum

Bubble Yum

Getting to the top of a pedestal is the easy part. Staying there can be much more difficult when others are determined to knock you off of the perch. Such was the case with Bubble Yum, the first soft bubble gum to hit the market in 1975. Enormously popular when it was introduced, it would soon find itself waging war, not only against a handful of competitors, but also an army of imaginary spiders.

To understand the impact of Bubble Yum, one must remember the bubble gum of yesteryear. Whether you bought Bazooka or Dubble Bubble in the penny candy aisle, or gnawed on those pink sticks from packages of baseball cards, or grabbed a couple of gumballs from the machine in the supermarket, they all had one thing in common – it took some serious jaw muscles to get things started, and a good bit of patience, if you ever hoped to blow that elusive big bubble.

That changed when Life Savers introduced Bubble Yum in 1975. Each package contained five rectangles of gum so soft and malleable that even a novice could blow bubbles with ease. Bubble Yum was available in both the original variety and a luscious grape version that is still fondly remembered. Both versions were a huge success out of the gate, and then the rumors started.

Perhaps it was because the gum seemed eerily soft, or possible because there were little granules of sugar that you could feel with your tongue, but a rumor was started that Bubble Yum contained spider eggs, and it spread like wildfire through classrooms and playgrounds nationwide. Of course it wasn’t true, but the folks at Life Savers had to do some major damage control, taking out full-page ads in newspapers across the country to dispel the myths. Luckily for them, the strategy convinced all those worried tykes and sales again began to soar.

Meanwhile, there were other versions of soft bubble gum hitting the market. Bubblicious, made by Cadbury, hit store shelves in 1977 with its own ambitious (and rather psychedelic) marketing campaign, followed by Hubba Bubba in 1979, and Big League Chew in 1980. The era of soft bubble gum had arrived and we never looked back, thanks in part to Bubble Yum waging a war against the evil (and imaginary) reproductive habits of spiders and emerging victorious, which paved that glorious pink road ahead for the imitators.

Were you likely to have a pack of Bubble Yum in your pocket back in the day? Did you fall for the spider egg rumors? We’d love to hear all of your memories of the bubble gum that dared to be soft in our comments section below.

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