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Bazooka Gum Rebrands, Dumps Bazooka Joe Strips After 49 Years

It’s the end of an era. After almost five decades, Bazooka bubble gum is getting a new look to make it more in tune with today’s gum-chewing audience – and ditching the comic book adventures of Bazooka Joe in the process.The New York Times is reporting that sales of Bazooka gum will fall a projected 48% between 2007 and the end of 2012, necessitating a rethink for the company in terms of how to sell the product. The first change? New packaging, which Bazooka VP of marketing, Anthony Trani, says is intended to “make the brand relevant to today’s kids.” That means the disappearance of the comic strip that’s been appearing on the gum’s packaging since 1953, following market research that showed that only 7% of kids aged 6-12 even knew who Bazooka Joe was (Even worse, of that 7%, less than half liked the character).

According to Trani, the replacement of the iconic strips doesn’t mean that Joe himself is gone forever; “Instead of a cheesy joke [on the packaging], we wanted to have a fun, engaging activity for kids, but the purpose wasn’t to not include Bazooka Joe,” he told the NYT. “To me, it is all about doing one thing really well, and that is refreshing the Bazooka brand.”

On the plus side, the market for gum packaging comic strips is once again wide open, for any enterprising entrepreneurs out there…

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