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Bonkers was a candy offering from Nabisco in the mid-1980s. It consisted of chewable rectangular shaped candies with a fruity outside and an even fruitier filling. The candy came in a large rectangular package with several of them individually wrapped. Common flavors included grape, orange, strawberry, watermelon and chocolate.
The product is perhaps most memorable for a series of television commercials in which one or more apparently uptight characters would take one bite of a Bonkers candy, and a giant fruit such as a bunch of grapes would fall from above and knock them into hysterical laughter. The tagline in the commercials was "Bonkers! Bonks you out!" Several of the commercials featured an older Southern woman who said in a deadpan voice that "Some folks think Bonkers is gum" after which the aforementioned giant fruit would fall on someone, inducing raucous laughter. The woman would then deadpan the line: "They know it's candy now." The original commercial had an ending that featured another giant piece of fruit falling, causing the actor to frown & a dour voice-over saying 'Artificially Flavored'. This was redone to have the actor continue to laugh when the last piece of fruit landed & the voice sounded more pleasant when it noted the artificial flavoring.
After the commercials stopped running, the popularity of Bonkers waned until it became a rarity, available only in novelty candy stores. The manufacturer has discontinued the Bonkers line of candies.
In February 2012, Leaf Brands, LLC (www.leafbrands.com) acquired the trademark and plans to reintroduce the classic brand back into the market by the end of 2013.
In 2014, Leaf Brands will bring back the original Bonkers and will reintroduce some of the eight flavors:
- Apple (Red outside, green inside)
- Vanilla (Malagasy Vanilla outside, Vanilla cake inside)
- Lemon-Lime (Lemon outside, Lime inside)
- Vanilla-Peach (Malagasy Vanilla outside, Peach inside)
- Peach-Apricot (Peach outside, Apricot inside)
Candy company Joyco made and sold a candy called "Bonkers" with no relation and very little similarity to the original Nabisco variety. It had no juicy center and the flavors and manufacturing process were completely different from the Nabisco Brand Bonkers.
- "Wrigley's acquisition of Joyco seen to stimulate confectionery market". The Hindu Business Line. 2004-01-09. Retrieved 2008-11-14.