From the 1970s to the 1990s, there were so many strange and unique gum products that were on offer that it’s hard to keep up with them all. Freshen Up gum was unique in that it had a gel-like center that you could enjoy when you started chewing each piece of the product. For those who are familiar with the fruity center of Gushers Fruit snacks, the Freshen Up product offered a similar experience but in gum form.
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The advertising that was used to make Freshen Up gum interesting to young people and kids definitely leaned on a little bit of sex appeal and the possible meaning of the slogan, “It Squirts!” and “Love that squirt!” This would not be an option for ad campaigns these days, but there have been many changes to the way that ads are created and targeted these days.
Perhaps the slightly suggestive nature of this product’s ads was a part of its downfall since it really was a product that seemed to be aimed mostly at kids and young people.
Freshen Up Gum History
Freshen Up Gum landed on the market in 1975, complete with splashy colors, zany and suggestive ad campaigns, and many different flavors. The product claimed to be made with “flavor waves” generated by the soft gel center in every piece of gum.
The outside of the pieces of gum was sometimes plan and sometimes striped and enticing, and there was no disputing that the interior gel layer was a new twist as compared with stick or tape-style gums that were much more common at this time. Even block or square-shaped gum was falling out of favor during this period, so a cube of gum that was made with a soft center was really novel.
This new obsession with strip-style chewing gum might have been why the American Chicle factory decided to try something new and more noticeable. After all, the brand still remains synonymous with cubes of gum in little blister packets and not with the strip-style gums that most brands make.
While American Chicle did not make the gum all the way until it was discontinued in 2019, they did invest a lot of money and effort into creating this product. There was also a big and expensive effort at marketing the Freshen Up gum product, which likely could not have been absorbed by a smaller company.
There was a sense of rogue adventure that was wrapped up in products at this time in snacking and candy history, and Freshen Up Gum seemed to want to make the most of all of the various options that were offered in this area. American Chicle also really leaned into advertising to adults, using a Welcome Back Kotter reference in one ad, and there was another that likened the gum to a gun.
“He didn’t know the gun was loaded” was the line from a TV show, but this would be unlikely to have elicited much response in anyone younger than their twenties. Dukes of Hazzard cast members were also appropriated for ads for the product, which was perhaps the one nod to the fact that younger people might buy gum products too.
Perhaps the odd marketing choices of this product were part of what led to its downfall. While there are rumors that you can still track down the product in some foreign markets, the company that was making the gum has confirmed that they have stopped manufacturing it. Adams has taken over many vintage candy products over the years, many of them gum products. The success of Clove Gum in more recent years might be part of the choice behind this halt to manufacturing, but it might also be that this gum product just really isn’t that popular.
After all, not many people even remember that this gum existed unless you were in the target tween-mid-thirties age group that the product was aimed at. There is also a real lack of color and design in the packaging, which could make it tough to convince kids that this gum is really good to chew. For how exciting and silly the commercials were as well as the nature of the gum itself when you open the package, the outer wrapping of Freshen Up Gum is deadly dull.
For those who loved this zany, squishy, splashy gum, it was a real disappointment when it went off the market. While today’s kids are used to candies and fruit snacks that have soft centers like this, Freshen Up Gum really had the market cornered for a time when it came to soft and squishy treats.
Classic chewing gum really has a nostalgic quality to it too, because it was such a routine part of daily life. Most kids remember going to the candy store or the drug store and buying gum with the change that their parents gave them. Most adults have some form of gum in their purses or in their vehicles just in case they needed to freshen up.
There are so many reasons that gum products immediately elicit memories for most people that it can be tough on consumers when a product goes away. Many people remember this gum being in their mom’s purse or being available at the gas station or the corner store.
This was also an interesting experiment in the fun nature of gum products, and it might have been a little ahead of its day. Gum, up until the 70s, had been used mostly to freshen the breath and for nothing else. Encouraging gum to be fun and silly was new. And possibly, if Freshen Up Gum had been aimed at the right age audience from the start, it would still be going strong today.
Cadbury Adams had been making Freshen Up in Brazil and shipping it to the US until 2019. They have since discontinued the gum, but there seem to be knock-offs that are being sold online that do not have the juicy center. Many people on Amazon complain that the Freshen Up they are ordering from Amazon does not have the juicy middle. The reason is likely because these products that are being sold under that name are not actually Freshen Up Gum and are not being made with the company’s permission.
Freshen Up Gum Livery
There were four flavors of this gum that Cadbury Adams was making until they halted production. Each was color-coded, as you would expect for the kind of flavor. Pink was for Bubble Gum, green for Spearmint, Cinnamon was red, and Peppermint was blue.
The wrappers show the Adams logo in the top left corner, and the Freshen-Up brand name is centered on the packaging. The background of the wrapper seems to indicate liquid being spilled but mostly looks like some kind of wavy and flowery design. There is also a really low-quality image of the gum itself on the right side of the wrapper that could indicate something about the center of the product being a gel.
Overall, the effect is very boring, and certainly, you would not look at this branding and decide to immediately find out what this exciting gum was all about. In fact, you might not even be clear about the nature of the product at all. Maybe you would think they are mints or some kind of candy. The design of the wrappers is so generic that it is tough to tell what you are even buying, should you happen to notice this gum on the shelf at all.
While it can be admired that Cadbury Adams avoids changing the classic wrappers and liveries of the products that it has continued to make after securing permission, there are some products that probably need a makeover. It can be hard to market based on memory alone, and if the older people who used to buy this product are the only ones looking for it, that is not a successful plan. Considering that this is the perfect product to market to kids in today’s market, a change in livery might have done a world of good for Freshen Up.
Freshen Up Gum Logo
Freshen Up Gum Flavors:
- Bubble Gum
Freshen Up Gum Ingredients:
From a listing on Instacart:
- Gum Base
- Invert Sugar
- Glucose Syrup
- Artificial and Natural Flavoring
- Red 40 Lake
- Soy Lecithin
- BHT (to Maintain Freshness)
This is from the cinnamon product, so there might be other ingredients in the other flavors. The recent listings for this product indicate that it was being made in Brazil. It also warns that the flavoring is artificial. When looking at reviews for online sellers and even the Amazon listing, the gum that was being sent to the US from Brazil seems not to have had the gel in the center any longer. This is possibly because the product is not actually Freshen Up since the Adams company is no longer making it for sale.
Freshen Up Gum Nutrition
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|Amount Per Serving|
- The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Pictures of Freshen Up Gum
Freshen Up Gum Commercials
An ad from 1978 which includes the original slogans with reference to the Freshen Up gum squirting in your mouth:
The famous, “didn’t know the gum was loaded” commercial:
An 80s commercial that feels very Rainbow Brite Inspired:
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