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Bonkers was a candy offering from Nabisco in the mid-1980s. It consisted of chewable rectangular-shaped candies with tangy 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. Most of Bonkers candy commercials tended to be very high in energy and tonality, often with excited overtones.
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. High competition in the candy and snack market combined with the increased focus on healthy alternatives may have also furthered the wane of Bonkers popularity .
In 2017, Leaf Brands will bring back the original Bonkers and will reintroduce some of the eight flavors. It also may be introducing new flavors to its lineup, both natural and artificial. The sugar content that is in Bonkers also may be changed in the new release. Since November 2016, with Bonkers Fruit Candy's Facebook and Twitter post stating, "We made more samples of Bonkers Fruit Chews on the line last week and we think they look pretty good! Getting closer but no date yet.." (With two pictures below), there have been no more updates on Bonkers Fruit Candy. The original flavors include:
- 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.