Cracker Jack snacks used to be a real treat when I was a kid. Peanuts and caramel popcorn, hell yeah! And the prizes, though they were always cheap, were sometimes a delight. I remember getting a little plastic magnifying glass that was useful and fun, and little toy planes and cars.
I picked up a 3-pack of Cracker Jacks yesterday for some retro snacking. The prize, though, was a little sticker than you can redeem for free play on some kind of game on a page of webgames. I say “some kind” because the games are all 100% broken (Chrome, Windows 10 Home). When you try to start the game, the site attempts to save an index.htm file on your local drive and then loads a blank page. I’ve tried it several times with the same result, using two different stickers.
I’m ambivalent about the webgame approach for prizes. I approve of Frito-Lay’s decision to stop making cheap plastic junk, but a subpar webgame is not going to increase the amount of joy in the world, much less this travesty.
I’d much rather see them design something responsible AND fun. Shouldn’t the minds at Frito-Lay be up for that challenge? Maybe a figure or spaceship made of recycled cardboard? A puzzle? What about a few seeds and instructions on how to cultivate them, or a science experiment with a supporting Youtube video? Hopefully Cracker Jack gets cracking on this; the current effort is lazy and slipshod.
Cracker Jack is owned by Frito-Lay/Pepsi. Sure, it may not make as much money as Diet Pepsi, but this is a sad and undignified way to defile a classic American tradition. RIP, Cracker Jack prizes… at least for now!