Forgotten Brands – Big Fun Bubble Gum

Big fun wrapper

The inclusion of sports cards in packs of Big Fun bubble gum was a huge marketing success in the 1980s. Then it all burst

Big Fun launched on October 24, 1983, in Chennai, and became widely known when its first television ad aired on DD on November 6, 1983, just before the evening showing of a Tamil film.

The bubble-gum industry was in its infancy at the time. Along with NP’s 007 Bubble Gum, it was one of the brands responsible for the creation of the bubble-gum industry in India.

Gum India, based in Chennai, manufactured it and R. Narayanan was the company’s founder.

Big Fun was also an industry pioneer in promoting its products via sales promotions. The company first targeted children by selling merchandise with images of Disney characters. The firm was also emphasizing that bubble gum can create BIG bubbles.

Bug fun cards

However, the 1987 Cricket World Cup was the deciding factor. Big Fun’s cricket-themed ad campaign did very well. The bubble gum came with a collection of collector’s images of famous cricketers.

The youngsters would also keep score using the runs and wickets that accompanied the graphics. The youngsters could trade in their points for prizes like comic books and other treats after the programme.

Big fun ad 1

Everyone loved the plan. Kids began collecting these photos more for the cricket memorabilia than for the prizes. Young consumers started purchasing the product not for bubble gum but to swap photos of their favourite stars.

Kapil, Viv Richards, Holding, Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, and Shastri were all at the top of their game back then.

The bubble gum of yesteryear was not quite as complex as the bubble gum of today. Hard and rectangular, Big Fun had a sweet syrupy flavour. Chewing it extensively was required for it to become mild and for the first bubble to form.

Big fun ad 2

The company hoped to profit from people’s fascination with cricket at the time. However, the company’s success ended in the early 1990s. Big Fun may have failed because of financial difficulties or because of the general downturn in the bubble-gum industry’s appeal. There wasn’t enough of a favourable taste experience with the product to keep people buying it once the sales promotions ended.

Perhaps even school administrators saw how much of a disruption bubble-gum chewing was, they outright forbade it. The demand for BigFun, which had a margin of 400% at the time, took a major hit as a result of this.

Market-serving competitors were equally active, with names like Perfetti in the mix. The wealthy global corporation Perfetti Van Melle introduced Centre Fresh and Big Babol, which were superior in quality and presentation. Even the commercials on TV were more interesting. Strawberry, watermelon, and mint were just a few of the tastes available. The list of freebies that Big Babol was offering now included tattoos.

And then the (big) bubble burst!


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