You just can't escape the marvelous marketing machine.
Even before "The Hulk" opened in movie theaters, you could fill a grocery cart with packages of edibles featuring the character's menacing mug.Boxes of mini Ritz crackers that sport silvery, collectible holographic Hulk stickers. Chocolatey Hersey's syrup that has been colored green - for a limited time - in honor of the movie. Oreo cookie packages that hide green cookie game pieces worth cold, hard cash. Tri-colored Popsicles that pay homage to the Hulk and his Marvel comic buddies, Spider-Man and Captain America. The list goes on and on.
Popular personalities on products - real or fictional - are nothing new to foodies. Emeril Lagasse has spices and pots and pans; Ming Tsai hawks knives and gourmet items; Paul Newman's face is on dressings, salsa and other foodstuffs; SpongeBob SquarePants lends his comical countenance to cereals and frozen treats; and a busload of Disney characters are commonly found on food labels. And, of course, all can be purchased now with The Hulk limited-edition MasterCard.
"Marketing plans are build on the latest and greatest things," said Harry Balzer, vice president of The NPD Group, a company that tracks and analyzes sales and marketing information for a wide range of industries. "It's all about the power of the license. It's taking a gamble on what we think - or really, what we hope - will be the next big thing."
Licensing translates into a lot of cha-chings at the supermarket. The Hulk's current competitor in the marketplace is Nemo, an overly curious, orange-and-white striped clown fish. "We recently bought Nemo cereal and popcorn," said Cindi Kirkley, a Maitland, Fla., mother of two children, ages 5 and 8. Cha-ching.
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