Cracker Jack Changed their Prizes – What Can We Learn From It?

Fans of the beloved baseball snack Cracker Jack were taken aback a few weeks ago when Frito-Lay announced that the miniature prizes we’ve known for years would no longer be a part of its product. That’s right, the plastic rings won’t be at the bottom of your caramel corn and peanuts during your summer indulgence.

Instead, consumers will receive a sticker that provides a scannable code that provides a mobile, baseball digital experience.

Why? It’s simple – today’s younger audiences don’t want a random comic booklet but would prefer to use a mobile device and create a personalized baseball card that can be shared with friends and family online.

Is This Really a National Tragedy?

Conducting a search of news articles covering this announcement or doing a search on social media makes it sound like the United States just gave up one of its freedoms. Yes, we take to social media for fake outrage all of the time and this seems like one of those changes people hate just because it’s changing.

Baseball is a dying sport. Younger fans aren’t attracted to it because it’s a slower-paced game. There isn’t action on every pitch, so millennials (and Generation Z) lean toward football.  There are plenty of statistics out there to back up those statements.

Cracker Jack making this change is a direct byproduct of baseball having the oldest attendance, on average, of the major sports and youth baseball rates continuing to decline. If kids aren’t going to the ballpark with their friends and family, they will never open up a box of Cracker Jack. Even if they go to the park, they don’t want to open the box, get to the bottom and see a plastic figurine.

With the new prize format and image re-branding, Frito-Lay is trying to keep Cracker Jack from being a forgotten pastime going forward.


What Can Your Business Learn?

Quicker than ever, technologies and social behaviors are changing. But, tried-and-true principles will never go away, which is why Cracker Jack is trying to connect with its younger audience through this revised prize format. If an eight-year-old kid sees their face on a digital baseball card, that’s going to create a great experience and might have them ask for another box on their next trip to the stadium.

In marketing your business, the same principles hold. Your success lies with making connections with your audience. Building trust and showing that you are paying attention to their needs leads to long-term relationships.

In the past, that may have been done more through traditional advertising (newspapers, radio, television, etc.). Today, those methods aren’t as effective with millennials or Generation Z. If you want to relate to a younger audience, you have to get in front of their eyeballs on their digital devices. The options to create an online presence are numerous:

  • Mobile-responsive website
  • Blog posts
  • Social Media
  • Digital Advertising
  • Email Marketing

Generally, the goals of your business are probably the same.  Get people to pay attention, show interest, desire your product/service and then act on that desire.  It is how you achieve those goals that is changing.

Frito-Lay is attempting to do that with Cracker Jack. Yes, it can be painful. Yes, it might upset your traditional audience. And yes, it’s not easy to make those decisions.

But if you don’t, then you might end up in the same category as the typewriter, dodo bird and audio cassette tapes….

Contact BARQAR today and we’ll help you avoid the fate of those products of yesteryear!

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