According to Buzzfeed, there are 23 food examples of the Mandella effect that will make you think you’re living in a parallel universe. That would be fun. So, let’s put these examples to the test. Did Buzzfeed get it right? Or were they way out in the opposite arm of the universe, as usual?
What is the Mandella Effect?
The so-called Mandella Effect is a shared false-memory phenomenon that got its name from Nelson Mandella. Thousands of westerners used to believe that the famous South-African anti-Apertheild leader died in prison during the 1980s even though he actually continued to serve as President of South Africa until 1999. While I do not know if is true that thousands of people believed he had died in prison, it is clear that man did. So, his name was given to this false-memory effect first described by a paranormal consultant named Fiona Broome. Many other such shared-false memories have been described.
Proponents of the Mandella effect ask, is this evidence of alternate realities? Or, is our world just a computer simulation that sometimes glitches? I actually remember many of the things listed as part of the Mandella effect. For example, I too thought the comedian Sinbad was in a movie called Shazzam where he played a genie. And I would swear that the wicked which in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Disney) said “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all,” when she actually said “Magic mirror on the wall.”
I know that these types of memories are confabulation or another psychological phenomenon but it’s fun to think about science fiction-type scenarios. The entertaining 2019 movie The Mandella Effect explored the ‘this is a simulation’ angle.
Fun and silliness aside, even if I were going to write an article on the Mandella effect and food, I’d put a little research into it. So, I subjected the Buzzfeed article to some actual research. Here is what I found.
1. There is One T in the Middle of Sweetarts
Sweet Tarts candy was a 1962 offshoot to Pixy Stix and Lik-M-Aid. In fact, they came in the same basic flavors as Pixy Stix, cherry, grape, lemon, lime, and orange. The name was never spelled sweet tarts. They were always called Sweetarts. This obviously refers to the sweet-tart taste of the candies.
The descriptor sweet-tart is obviously a generic one. However, this didn’t stop Sunmark Inc., which had acquired Sunline, from attempting to enjoin Ocean Spray from advertising its cranberry juice products as ‘sweet-tart,’ which it had been doing, off and on, since 1942, long before SweeTarts were brought to market. Sunmark felt that its trademark should mean that no one should use the descriptor sweet-tart.
Sunmark was especially upset by the 1973 Ocean Spray cranapple commercial that featured a Mounty and a maiden singing ‘Sweet-Tart’ to the tune of the song Sweetheart, Sweetheart, Sweetheart. It would seem that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the song’s writer, Nelson Eddy, had more right to complain.
Ocean Spray responded predictably: The words sweet and tart are descriptive. Why should we stop using them? The company continued using the words in advertising here and there, but they didn’t actually use them in another television ad campaign until 1991. Sunmark once again tried to get them to stop and, while Ocean Spray made some minor concessions, they weren’t good enough. Unsatisfied, Sunmark finally sued in 1993, claiming dilution. The court found that the claim had no merit since Ocean Sprays’ use of the words as a descriptor was fair use. These were generic terms and companies had protection when using generic terms as general descriptors, rather than marks.
Sunmark actually tried to claim that the term sweet-tart was an oxymoron and therefore could not be descriptive at all. This was ironic since, in an earlier suit against the company, described below, the plaintiff had attempted to make a similar argument, that the mark was uncommon, arbitrary, and distinct. In other words, the company was trying to claim, in various ways, that they just made this term up and it had no descriptive power. In the end, it did not matter to the court whether Sunmark’s trademark was descriptive or arbitrary, only that the words themselves were certainly descriptive, and thus fair use.
Sunline, the original maker of SweeTarts candy, had already been sued by another company, SweeTarts Company, out of Dundee, Oregon, that had been selling glazed and candied fruits under this trademark since 1926. The company had registered this trademark in 1928 for stuffed dried prunes. After moving to Portland, Oregon in the 1930s, the company began making various candies, including chocolates and toffee, all sold under the name SweeTarts. The main product at the time of the suit was butter toffee, which constituted most of their sales.
They did not sell this candy in stores but relied on direct marketing. Organizations, especially fraternities, would order candies to sell in order to raise money, as is often done today. Compared to Sunline, the company was tiny and did very little business. Before choosing the name SweeTarts for their candies, Sunline had indeed found the plaintiff’s trademark ‘SweeTarts’ for dried prunes but decided to use the term anyway since its candy was certainly not dried prunes. They were unable to get a trademark, however, in 1963 because of the pre-existing one. In the suit, the court did not concern itself with this and considered only the common law rights.
2. Yes, I’ve had a Cup O’ Noodles.
The well-love instant ramen brand Cup Noodles have been around since 1971. Contrary to what the article claimed, they were indeed called Cup o’ Noodles in the beginning. In fact, the O’ wasn’t even eliminated until 1993. Not a false memory. No Mandella effect here. We all got the name right. They never should have changed it.
Why Did They Changle the Name of Cup O’ Noodles to Cup Noodles?
About 80% of consumers still call them Cup O’ Noodles, including me, since I’m more than old enough to remember. No, this is not an example of the Mandella effect where a host of people remember something in a mistaken way. Cup Noodle were really called Cup O’ Noodles, originally. The name wasn’t even changed until 1993 and one minute of Googling will confirm it.
Cup O’ Noodles is a good name for America’s oldest and, perhaps still favorite brand of instant ramen noodles. Why ever change it? It’s a cup OF noodles.
Well, before Nissin sold to an American market, it had already established itself in Japan, where its product, measurably different than the versions to be sold in the US, is called Cup Noodle, with no S. Presumably, then, the change in name was meant to reflect the original product more closely, though they did keep the S at the end.
3. Double Stuffed Oreos Are Called….
I’m beginning to think no thought went into this article. There are a lot more interesting things to say about them than the fact that they are not called Double Stuffed, which, once again, doesn’t seem to be an example of the Mandella effect. The more interesting question is why are they called Double Stuf, with one F instead of Double Stuff or Double Stuffed.
Well, Double Stuf Oreos are not double stuffed. They do not contain twice the amount of ‘cream’ filling. If they did, they would be majorly unbalanced. Nabisco used ‘stuf’ to make the name a simple brand, not to mean the filling. Double stuff means more fun stuff, according to the company. This made-up word was presumably meant to keep people from thinking they had twice the stuffing.
Pixie Stix or Pixy Sticks?
Pixie sticks is a frequent misspelling of Pixie Stixs. Simple misspellings do not qualify as the Mandella Effect just by virtue of their existence. Spelling tends to be subject to the Mandella effect when an unusual spelling is used, as in the Berenstain Bears instead of Berenstein Bears. While ‘stix’ and ‘pixy’ are both unusual spellings of ‘sticks’ and ‘pixies’ this does not mean that lots of people remember the candy being spelled the ‘correct’ way, only that they automatically spell it the correct way when not looking at a package.
The more interesting question, to me, is why in the world did anyone conceive of selling pure flavored sugar in a straw to kids? Well, do you remember Lik-M-Aid? Lik-M-Aid was based on a powdered drink mix sold in straws. Children could buy a straw for a penny and mix it in their water. Why bother with water, though? Kids were pouring the stuff straight into their mouths.
So, Sunline Sunline, Inc. of St. Louis Missouri modified the drink powder and created Lik-M-Aid in 1934, which was a powdered (mostly sugar) candy. This later became known as FunDip. Kids would lick a marshmallow flavored candy stick and then dip it into the powdered sugar mixture. Yep. I remember these well. Sugar on sugar. Later, in 1950, came Pixy Stix, flavored powdered sugar in a straw. No need to dip, just pour the sugar right on down your throat.
Pixy Stix was also part of some of the contaminated Halloween candy scares we had during the 1970s. In 1974, Timothy O’Bryan died after eating a Pixy Stix laced with cyanide. His father said he got it during trick or treating, but it turned out his father, Ronald O’Bryan, had insured Timothy for a great deal of money and had recently purchased cyanide. He was tried and convicted for the murder of his son and executed in 1984.
Fruit Loops are Spelled Froot Loops
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the ‘froot’ in Froot Loops is spelled as fruit. It doesn’t mean you’re unobservant, only human. Fruit is the correct spelling. You know what the cereal is called, and so you don’t really need to notice the label. However, it was always called Kellogs Froot Loops. One good reason to spell it this way is so you can use two pieces of cereal for the Os!
Froot Loops, introduced in 1963, were originally red, orange, and yellow. Green, purple, and blue were added later, during the 1990s. However, all the loops have always been the same flavor, a mixture of artificial fruit flavors, which Kellogs acknowledges.
If you could have sworn that Froot Loops were supposed to be different flavors, that’s not the Mandella Effect! Kellogs did indeed lead consumers to believe that each loop was a different flavor.