Zing-Things and Big Fun

Last night, my son was busy playing a game on the iPad. After the game, he came up to me and said, “I need to earn 400 points to buy a few things for my pet.  I wish I could get it right now, but (sighing loudly) I have to wait another 24 hours at least.”

I chuckled, and that irritated him.

“Why are you smiling, mom? Do you know how difficult it is to wait 24 hours for something?” he asked.

I then recounted to him, a memory from my childhood.

It was in the eighties that television came to many households in India. Most of our homes had black and white TVs back then.  With increasing viewership, advertisers came up with wonderful commercials to push their brands to a new audience, that was just waiting to lap it all up.

Two very popular brands from that time,  advertised on TV and then followed it up with contests for children on the ground.

The first was a tie-up between Disney’s Jungle Book and a fizzy drink called Gold Spot (the commercial went something like this…’Gold Spot The Zing Thing’).  Gold Spot was sold in glass bottles with metal crown caps. When the Jungle Book promotion was on, inside each crown cap was a small, round card with any one of the Jungle Book Characters. We could collect the contest card from prescribed shops, and then collect the character cards, and paste them on the main card.

We were on a mission. Each time we went out, the whole family had to drink only Gold Spot. Immediately afterwards, the crown caps were opened up and the characters taken out.

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            Courtesy – http://www.flickr.com

This exercise taught us ‘patience’, and how! We usually got the same characters multiple times. So we had to trade with our friends. Many fun hours were spent, as each of us took our character cards to exchange or discuss with our friends. We had a deal with a small store in town, where we usually bought provisions, to put away the crown caps for us.

It took us more than 2 months to fill up the competition card, but the joy that came with it was priceless.

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           Courtesy – http://www.flickr.com

The second big excitement was when one of the most popular bubble gum brands was launched. It was called Big Fun and was very tasty. We spent hours chewing and blowing bubbles with the gum.

As part of the Cricket World Cup, the brand announced a contest for children, where each child had to collect information sheets about famous cricketers. These sheets were inside the bubble gum wrapper. We had to collect around 40 such sheets, and then send it to the Big Fun Company. The first 500 entries would receive gift hampers.

My sisters and I were on a mission. We managed to collect all of them, and sent it by post.

The wait was agonizing. One fine day, we received a letter that said that we had won a gift hamper. We went mad with excitement. And then the long wait began.

After about a month, we got a big cover on which was a Big Fun logo. We cut it open. By then, our entire group of friends knew and all of them joined us in opening the hamper.

It had a huge sheet filled with board games, one whole packet of Big Fun, some labels, timetables and some stationery.

Our eyes shone with so much joy. We could not stop talking about it for ages. The long wait paid off.

My son heard me out and said, “That’s an awfully long wait, mom. I am glad mine will be over tomorrow.”

I smile. There was so much joy in the collecting and waiting. Not sure if this generation of kids has that kind of patience.

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21 thoughts on “Zing-Things and Big Fun

  1. Erika Kind

    I often recall those differences when I was young to my kids’ world today. It is so interesting. How we were making an effort to recording tapes, having a lot less tv programs and for sure not all around the clock. Phones were there for calling someone…. and so much more! Great post, Nimi 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Marissa Bergen

    It seemed whenever there were games like that in my childhood, there were certain pieces we would get over and over again and others that just seemed not to exist. Eventually we would just give up. I guess you are far more patient than I am.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
      1. Marissa Bergen

        I was thinking about that. I don’t think that there was every a promotional event that became so popular that kids were into trading. I do remember having the Garbage Pail Kids cards that were fashioned after Cabbage Patch kids but gross. We traded those but I think there was an endless supply and certainly no prize to win at the end of it all. Did you have Cabbage Patch Kids over there?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Andrew Reynolds

    When I was about 9, I saved up my allowance and ordered a Tony the Tiger bowel, cup and spoon that was offered on the back of a Frosted Flakes cereal box. My mother helped me write the order card and mail it off then warned me that the coupon said, “Allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.” It took a looooonnnngggg time. I checked the mail box everyday after school. When it did arrive, I ate my morning cereal out of that bowl until the strips wore off.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. aayushi bengani

    Hello. I am an M.A. research scholar in Media and Cultural Studies and am currently researching on The Jungle Book in India. This is to extend thanks to you as your piece has been of great help to me in this regard. Also, if I could get some detail on what in relation to The Jungle Book was Disney promoting in India in 1980s (like the classic Jungle Book film in any other format/medium or what), it would be of great help. Thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. nimi naren Post author

      Dear Aauyushi,

      Thanks for stopping by and your lovely comment. Mostly Disney was promoting the movie only. However other brands used the movie and its characters to drive sales.

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