Starburst (originally known as Opal Fruits) is the brand name of a box-shaped, fruit-flavored soft taffy candy manufactured by The Wrigley Company, a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. Starburst also exists in the form of jellybeans (known as Joosters), lollipops, gummies, hard candy, candy canes, and lip gloss (the latter in a partnership with Lip Smackers). Starbursts are made with gelatin (U.S. only). Starbursts have many different flavors like tropical, sour, and regular.
The brand was introduced by Mars in the UK in 1959, named by Peter Pfeffer in a competition that won him £5, as Opal Fruits. The four original flavors were strawberry, lemon, orange, and lime. Lime was later replaced with cherry. In the 1970s Opal Fruits were well known for their advertising tag line "Opal Fruits - made to make your mouth water!" (slogan coined by Murray Walker). Opal Fruits were introduced in the United States in 1967 as Starburst. Originally, Starburst came in the same flavours as Opal Fruits and the first variant, "Sunshine Flavors", later renamed "Tropical Opal Fruits", was released thereafter. In Europe, lemon and lime were combined to become "Lemon and Lime" to make room for a Blackcurrant flavour.
The brand name 'Opal Fruits' was phased out in the UK, followed by Ireland in 1998 in order to standardize the product in a globalised marketplace. In 2008, the supermarket chain Asda revived the original Opal Fruits in the UK for a period of 12 weeks starting May 10, 2008. On October 6, 2008, Mars acquired Wrigley, and transferred Mars' non-chocolate candy brands, including Starburst, to the Wrigley subsidiary. The original flavours are now branded "Original Fruits", and Starburst now comes in several assortments: Limited Edition Retro Fruits, Tropical, Baja California, Sour, Strawberry Mix, Berries & Creme, Very Berry and Fruity Slushies. Among the additional flavors are Strawberry Lemonade Chill, Citrus Slush, Cherry Splash, Blue Raspberry Rush Kiwi, Banana, Plum, Blueberry, Passion Fruit, Blackberry, Raspberry, Strawberry-Banana, Mango, Melon, Tropical Punch, Green Apple, Blue Raspberry, Watermelon, Mixed Berries & Cream, Peaches & Cream, Orange Cream, and Strawberry & Cream. Europe also has the "Sour" assortment, which includes Apple, Cherry, Pineapple and Raspberry, as well as Strawberry Mix. As of early 2010 it was decided that Strawberry was the most popular flavor in the United Kingdom. Lime is also very popular within this demand.
Starburst in the UK is vegetarian, its packaging and website clearly stating "Suitable for Vegetarians", and also does not contain any artificial colors or flavors. In the U.S., Starburst contains non-vegetarian gelatin in its ingredients.
Lime Starburst made a comeback in 2007 as a limited-edition 'retro' flavour in packages of the 'Baja' version, while the range in the UK was further extended with a version named Starburst Choozers. These lozenge shaped chews have a liquid fruit juice centre, and come packaged with the tag line "The chews that ooze." Each packet contains three flavours; Orange & Mango, Raspberry & Orange, and Pineapple & Orange.
The current slogan for Starburst is "Unexplainably Juicy".
Starburst has been marketed in several ways, including a marketing tie-in for the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest where they replaced Kiwi Banana and Tropical Punch with Royal Berry Punch.
In 2007 a commercial for Starburst's Berries and Creme flavor went viral. The commercial, referred to as "Berries and Creme" or as "The Little Lad Dance", stars Jack Ferver as a man dressed in Victorian/Georgian clothing that expresses his excitement for the candy's flavor by performing an impromptu song and dance routine. The commercial has received some praise for its style from Advertising Age and in an interview with Adweek Ferver commented that the commercial took over twelve hours to film and that he had to wear the full costume in 80 degree weather.
- Starburst.com: About[dead link]
- Owen, Oliver (1 July 2007). "Mint condition". Guardian.
- Mercer, Charles (2008-05-01). "Opal Fruits return to British playgrounds". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- Mars Wrigley Press Feed
- Wrigley UK, Starburst Profile(Accessed 3/Jan/2013)
- Wrigley.com :: Starburst
- "Updated: The Best Ad Jingles Ever". IGN. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Watch some of the worst commercials on-air". MSNBC. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Brief interviews with commercial actors: Jack Ferver on being Starburst's Little Lad". Adweek. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Little Lad Produces Big Laughs in Genius Masterfoods Spot". AdAge. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Official website
- Starburst UK Site at Wrigley[dead link]
- Starburst Australia[dead link]
- Timeline of Candy[dead link]