Friday, April 02, 2010

Product innovation is alive and well in the peep-able kingdom

Well, it’s Easter this Sunday and while I’m mostly looking forward of it because it’s also Opening Day for the Red Sox (against the Yankees, no less), I’m still going to indulge myself in a Peep or two. I especially like the head of a fresh Peep. Yummy yum yum.

To celebrate Easter in my own pagan little way, I thought I’d make a virtual call on the Peeps site to see whether there’s anything new and exciting going on.

I mean, in the olden days, there were just bright yellow Peeps. And they came in chicken-only. Now, of course, there are all different colors of Peeps, not to mention bunnies, Jack o’Lanterns, Christmas trees, Valentines, etc. – expanding the times of year when Peeps are in play, and the way, shapes, and forms in which they’re available.

I am pleased to announce that Just Born – the Peeps peeps – is coming through big time this year on the product innovation front.

First off, there are now chocolate covered Peeps – milk and dark – available on Just Born for $20 for a 24-pack. Now,See full size image that does seem kind of steep for even a not so humble choco-covered Peep, so I’m hoping they have them in smaller amounts in the store. Even at that great price, however, idea of a chocolate-covered bright yellow Peep. Well, I won’t use the word “swoon”, but I will be trolling the candy aisles of CVS before the weekend is out.

The innovation doesn’t end there.

No sir-ee.

If you like Italian ice, you’ll either love – or gag on – the new RRita's Peeps Flavored Iceita’s Peep Ice. I can’t imagine, but since the nearest Rita’s to me is, in fact, a couple of minutes walk from my sister Trish’s in Salem, I hereby deputize my niece Molly to go check this one out. Rita’s is located in Museum Mall. (Come on, you can use the big bucks that were in your Easter card.) Just let me know what it tastes like. I’m thinking ‘yuck’, but I’ve been wrong before.

Finally, I want to give a bit of shrift to the first Peeps store, which opened last fall in National Harbor, Maryland, in the DC area.

Directly in front of the PEEPS & COMPANY store is Seward Johnson’s famous statue, The Awakening, along with sweeping views of the beautiful Potomac River. The store’s location is at a converging point for residents and thousands of visitors arriving by metro bus, car, and ferries, which dock at the piers in front of the store.

Forget the Smithsonian and the Lincoln Mem. Next time I’m in Washington, I’m heading for Peep-ville, Maryland.

That mention of a famous statue intrigued me, I must say. Fortunately, info, like Peeps, is everywhere, and Wikipedia didn’t disappoint when it came to awakening me to The Awakening.

The statue consists of five separate aluminum pieces buried in the ground, giving the impression of a panicked giant trying to pull himself to the surface. The left hand and right foot barely protrude, while the bent left leg and knee jut into the air. The 17-foot right arm and hand reach farther out of the ground, and the bearded face, with the mouth in mid-scream, struggles to emerge from the surrounding earth.

The Awakening may be, at least temporarily, on the road – on exhibit in Rome. But wherever it is, I’m hoping that Just Born doesn’t miss the opportunity to create a Peeps version of the sculpture’s parts. The left hand could be milk chocolate covered; the right foot could be dark. And I’d like to see that “bearded face, with the mouth in mid-scream,” in traditional Peeps-yellow.

The Just Born folks claim that Peeps are for year-round. Having a non-holiday themed series of Peeps will seal the deal for me.

And it will be coming full circle, in a sense.

I already knew that Seward Johnson was a scion of the Johnson & Johnson family. But, thanks to Wikipedia, once again, I now also know that, while he didn’t graduate, Johnson majored in poultry husbandry at the University of Maine.

Poultry. Peeps. The Awakening. Product innovation.

You heard it here: Peeps will be going high brow.


I am absolutely not obsessed with Peeps. Still, I do like to think and write about them.  See:

Not a Peep Out of You and The Harley Davidson of the Candy World.


valerie said...

My mother was a real peepsophile. So, one time when we were going out to dinner, I went early to a Chinese restaurant in Lexington to arrange a little surprise. I got them to agree to let me add a little item to their buffet -- a tray of peeps. Well, first of all the visual dissonance made me laugh, but seeing my mother freeze and hearing her whisper, with wonder, "peeps ... they have peeps" is a memory you just brought back for me. a really good one.

JaneL said...

Love Valarie's story - it made me tear up a little. My mother knew how I loved Peeps as a child and would always hit the after-Easter sales to get me a supply long after I was grown and married.

My niece, who is on a diet, was very happy to see the sugar-free Peeps this year, but somehow, that just seems wrong to me!

I like my Peeps a little stale and hard. ;-)