Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tootsie Pops and Customer Service

I must say, I have enjoyed several Tootsie Pops out of my whippersnapper's bucket since Halloween. Tootsie Pops, I explained to him, are the creme de la creme of lollipops. I pointed to the Dum Dums and said, "Those are subpar." He looked over at my Tootsie Pop pile and I realized my ghastly mistake.

"But Dum Dums are really good, too," I backpeddled. "In fact, they're better, because they're smaller and fit in your mouth." And then I clinched the deal by offering him a Dum Dum while surreptitiously scooting the Tootsie Pops under the rug and out of his sight.

Anyway, do you remember the story of how you get could a free Tootsie Pop if the wrapper had the Indian chief and star on it? Surely you do. Well, according to, Tootsie Roll Industries says this is a total myth and they've been sending form rejections to people since the 1930s who've written in requesting their free Tootsie Pop because they got an Indian Chief and star on their wrapper.

Oh yes.

But then, reports, "since 1982 they've also enclosed a short work of fiction called 'The Legend of the Indian Wrapper,' apparently intended to serve as a sort of consolation prize." Now, I'm not one to decry a bit of fiction as a prize. In fact, if you ask me, that's a WIN. But surely they could send a free Tootsie Pop, too. What are they, 25 cents? For God's sake. Use your customer service muscle and give people a free one. Because guess what? They'll buy more if you do!

Oh sure, you say. Then people will save up the Indian chief star wrappers and take advantage of the program and Tootsie Roll Industries will go out of business fulfilling free orders for Tootsie Pops. Well, duh, print fewer of the wrappers! They currently appear on like a third of the wrappers, so make it like one in 500,000! Make it a prize worth buying tons of them for! Make it like a golden ticket!

What a fantastic promotion, and a way to engage with your customer base! Who's the Dum Dum now?

It's the same way in social media for business. Engage with people. Engage and offer something back. It gets them wanting more of your product, and it leaves them feeling all warm inside because you reached out.

And for writers--how can you engage with readers to make them want more? Give them yourself. Interact with people. (As opposed to just blasting stuff out at them and not responding or engaging.)

What do you think? Did Tootsie Roll Industries fail at this opportunity? I'll tell you what-- you tell me what you think, plus add in what you think the story is behind that Indian Chief and star. The most amusing answer will win a 20-count box of Tootsie Pops. Winner will be announced Friday on the Google Reader Roundup.*

* Do you hear that, Tootsie Roll Industries? I am doing your customer service for you. Sheesh.


Linda G. said...

I too am a big fan of Tootsie Pops (you're right--Dum Dums are totally subpar), but I confess I've never heard of the Indian Chief legend. Horrors! How can this be?

But allow me to take a stab at the story.

A little boy made a wish on a star, a simple wish, a wish for a free Tootsie Pop. The big, bad manufacturer sent him a cop-out story instead. Crushed, the little boy (who happened to be dressed as an Indian Chief at the time--did I mention it was Halloween?) got royally ticked off at the star for not granting his simple wish, and shot it with his bow and arrow. The End.

Meika said...

This post made me giggle. I, too, have heard the myth of the Indian and star on the wrapper. I've scoured my wrappers like they were a game of Where's Waldo in hopes of finding an Indian. I never did. Apparently, that was a blessing in disguise, since the Tootsie Roll corporation is filled with lying, scheming, good for nothing Dum-Dums!

I personally think the Indian and the Star are symbolism. Make a wish on a shooting star? The Indian is "shooting" the star. I know, I'm lame!

Great post, though! Now I'm gonna go get me a Tootsie Pop!

Teri Anne Stanley said...

Ummm, okay. So there was this Indian chief and he was a bad Indian chief and he kept trying to shoot the stars out of the sky, so the magical people on rollerskates who lived in the apartment upstairs put a curse on him and sent him to the land of Tootsie Pop Wrappers, where he would languish until a beautiful princess finds him and (insert sexual innuendo about suckers here). Unfortunately, the roller skate people got their bottom halves stuck on the wrapper and now they all have to wait until the 100,000,000th person writes to the Tootsie Pop company asking for a freebie. Then the curse will be broken, the Indian Chief will be redeemed, and he'll realize he's in love with Roller Skate Girl, and they'll live happily ever after. The end.

Tina Lynn said...

The chief was instructed to aim higher, so he did.

Travener said...

The chief is the constellation Orion as imagined by the Sioux.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Nice, guys! I'm enjoying these.

I should have added in the post that some independent store owners are known to honor the free Tootsie Pop star thing (small business owners who understand the value of promotion and customer service). So all is not lost --although it kind of is, on the part of Tootsie Roll. Man, I'd love to get in their marketing department and make some changes.

Lt. Cccyxx said...

Once there was a young brave who went to seek wisdom from the Wise Old Owl. "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?" he asked. (This happened long ago, before that question picked up any dirty connotations.) The Owl said he would answer the question, but he deceived the young brave, instead taking his Tootsie Pop and - after a few cursory licks - biting into it.

There wasn't much the pudgy young brave could do about it, but when he grew up and became the chief he routinely took out his residual frustration by going around at night and trying to kill owls with his bow and arrow. Unfortunately, all the sugar from the other Tootsie Pops he'd eaten made his vision terrible, and most of the time he wound up shooting arrows at the stars in the sky.

He never did figure out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Indeed, the world may never know.

KLM said...

I'd never heard of the Great Tootsie Pop Myth until now. Once again, Sierra, your blog is educational and informative and somewhat fattening. You know it's some poor intern's job to stuff all those letters into envelopes informing people they won't be getting their free lollipops, perhaps crushing their dreams in the process. (Those same interns probably go on to be literary agents, I think.)

I would enter your contest but the last freaking thing we need in this house at the moment is more candy.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Nice one, Lt.!

Kristen, I think you may have come up with the perfect tagline for my blog. "Sierra Godfrey - educational, informative, and somewhat fattening." nice!

Anne R. Allen said...

These stories are hilarious. I'd never heard the legend either. And you're so right. The urban legend was a gift to the Tootsie Roll people. All they had to do was honor the requests and they would have had a great advertising campaign.

Roni Loren said...

I've never heard this legend! Huh. ANd I agree, give the people their free tootsie pop. God knows the world could do without more form rejections.

Personally, I'm a Blow Pop girl anyway. Wait, that sounds kind of dirty, lol.

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