Mar 14, 2021

Fear.. Does Not Exist.. In This Marketing... Does It?

Bonsai Bites and Cobra Kakes
The Original Cakebites (2021)
You've got to stand back in awe of the men and women who came up with this brilliant idea.  It takes brass balls to make a product that so blatantly takes advantage of a pop culture phenomenon without directly licencing it.  If the Mr. Miyagi tree mutant, the Johnny Lawrence cobra, and the "put 'em in a body snack bag" lines weren't obvious enough, have a look at the back of the box.

Benny Bonsai has the ability to make a lot of money while hardly working?  Ouch!  I'm not sure if they're trying to say that Mr. Miyagi was lazy or if they admire his ability to buy classic cars while working as the maintenance man of an apartment complex.  How about their take on Kobra Kenny - an emotionally challenged sensei who slithers into a beer bottle when hes not listening to 80's music in his muscle car while chanting "Kobra Kakes for life"?  Dude, this almost puts the origin story of the Baby Ruth to shame.

Lest anyone think I'm being sarcastic with my praise, let me assure you that I am not.  This is an absolutely brilliant and fun campaign that I have the utmost respect and admiration for.  It's also a surprisingly delicious snack cake.

I've never heard of The Original Cakebites or Cookies United, and I don't remember ever trying any of their products before now, but they definitely exceeded my expectations.  After years of disappointing Hostess products, I was expecting that these would be kind of bland, overly sweet and that both flavors would taste pretty much the same.  Instead, I was happy to find a very tasty snack that I would definitely buy again even without the Karate Kid and Cobra Kai packaging.  The Bonsai Bites have a very pleasant vanilla blueberry flavor.  The Cobra Kakes are even better, with a chocolate coconut flavor that reminded me of Mounds.  It's not advertised as coconut, and I didn't see coconut in the ingredients, but that's how they tasted to me.

One of the things from the ingredient statement that did jump out at me is the fact that they use natural and artificial flavors.  Fast food and consumer packaged goods producers have been moving away from artificial flavors in recent years, and I think that many of their products have suffered as a result.  I worked for a candy company at a time when they decided to transition their entire product catalog to a new "no artificial flavors" recipe, and in my opinion, everything we made was less tasty than it was before the change.  I have yet to hear a convincing argument to stop eating artificial flavors - just a lot of vague health slogans with little to no actual science behind them - so when I'm looking for a snack, I actively avoid products with packages that boast that they're using a new formula with all natural flavors.  Natural doesn't mean better, or more healthful.  If anything, it makes me wonder if natural flavors have become more cost-effective to use than high quality artificial flavors.

One thing is for certain - I will be clearing out a spot in my freezer and stocking up on these bad boys while they're still available.