A really dumb idea

Thursday, April 12, 2007

An Iowa food store chain has announced that it is removing a liquid candy that comes in a syringe-shaped container.

The "Sweet Shots" candy, which comes in four flavors, is squirted into the mouth with a plunger that resembles a syringe.

Although AP is reporting the food chain by name, we are reluctant to do so out of concern that people will be critical of the company's stocking of the candy in the first place. The company doesn't likely scrutinize every product purchase and a particular candy getting on the shelves should not be regarded as reflecting any company policy.

The company acted quickly to remove the offending product once it was pointed out to management.

A person would have to be extremely naive or cynically deceitful to contend that the syringe shape honors the legitimate use of a necessary medical device. We cannot imagine that children would be attracted to emulating the legitimate medical use of a syringe.

Children naturally like the idea of shocking elders, at least slightly, and the shock value of a device associated with illicit narcotic use is the obvious marketing appeal of "Sweet Shots".

To a lesser degree, shock value had been the appeal of candy cigarettes, widely available for decades until societal concerns drove the product from store shelves.

Now there is growing concern about candy itself, regardless of how it is packaged. Too many sugar-laden, nutrient-deficient products are being consumed, starting in childhood and often carrying on into a lifelong habit.

While reasonable people can differ on how much candy is too much and what the ethical restraints should be on marketing of candy, there should be no such disagreement on the matter of "Sweet Shots".

The product line is extremely offensive.