1980s & 90s
Kraft Foods has recently discontinued its Kool-Aid points program. The points are no longer available on Kool-Aid products and, as of writing this, there are only a few items left in the place formerly known as the "Kool-Aid Wacky Warehouse". Requests for items must be received by 2010 and everything is available only on a first come, first serve basis. I can't tell you how upset this makes me. Ok, I'll try. It makes me very, wicked (wicked) upset! So upset that I decided to write an article about it.
I have been a fan of Kool-Aid since the 1970s and have collected Kool-Aid points since the beginning of the program (I'm guessing the early 80s). For those who may not know what I'm referring to, Kool-Aid points were found on every package of Kool-Aid. You would collect them and redeem them for awesome ("Oh Yeah!") Kool-Aid products found on ads in grocery stores, comic books, newspapers, etc.
You can click on either image above to view it full size. The first is an ad that you would find in almost every grocery store in the 80s and 90s near the Kool-Aid section. Every Spring these ads would change and be updated with that year's awesome Kool-Aid merchandise, usually featuring the newest Kool-Aid character and flavor (Rock-A-Dile Red, Purplesaurus Rex, etc.). The second ad above is from the Kool-Aid comic book. As you'll see in this article, I ordered many of the products shown in these ads.
The only problem I encountered while trying to order Kool-Aid merchandise was how to send in those little points. I'm sure some kids just threw a bunch of points in an envelope and mailed them in, but I've always been more serious about my Kool-Aid (dammit!). I would staple each point to a piece of paper and mail that in. The following pictures are from my very last Kool-Aid points order (...sniff...):
Now that's a lot of damn points! Let's take a closer look at some of the different kinds of points, shall we?
You can see many different eras of Kool-Aid points in the above photo. The old style white Kool-Aid pitcher, the dancing Kool-Aid Man, and the more recent red-colored points are all represented. Also notice some of the more "unusual" points - the 48 Points Proof-Of-Purchase (yes, from a 32 Quart container - I told you I don't F around with my Kool-Aid!), Mega Mountain Twists, and Island Twists. I can't remember where that huge "5 Bonus Points" one came from.
I know you're dying to know what I got on my very last Kool-Aid points order. Well, what I got and what I ordered were two different things. I ordered a shirt, a beach towel, and a Kool-Aid packet holder. What I received was two beach towels and a Kool-Aid packet holder.
Apparently they were sold out of the recent Kool-Aid shirt in my size and thought perhaps I'd like to make a shirt out of the beach towel.
I've gathered and taken pictures of all of the items I've gotten with Kool-Aid points over the years (at least the ones I could find). Let the rest of this article be a little history of the Kool-Aid points program, a way to show some of the awesome things that Kool-Aid used to offer for a select number of points and about $2 postage and handling.
First up is a Walkman, followed by a "Kool Aid Wacky Hits" cassette tape (you had to have something to play in the Walkman... duh). I remember you could pick out four songs to put on the cassette and then call it whatever you'd like. The title I requested was "Milli Vanilli's Greatest Hits". As you can see, they decided not to use that title on my cassette.
Next up are a couple of things you can use to help you drink your Kool-Aid.
You have your regular cup, a sports bottle, and the infamous Kool-Aid pitcher - all adorned with Kool-Aid Man's ever-smiling face.
You'll notice the second photo above features three of the newest characters of the time - Pink Swimmingo, Great Bluedini and Rock-A-Dile Red. For some reason, Kool-Aid has not featured any new characters in over 10 years. Actually, these days I usually can't find more than three different kinds of Kool-Aid on my local grocery store's shelf. Back in the late 80s and early 90s it seemed like there were at least 20 or more flavors to choose from. What's going on here?
Anyway, back to the Kool-Aid stuff. Pictured below are a liquid-filled key chain and a Post-It style notepad.
Notice Kool-Aid Man in the key chain is trying to get into the Wacky Warehouse. I guess it wasn't bad enough just to close the warehouse, but they had to lock Mr. Man out of it as well.
Next up are a Kool-Aid Man comic book featuring Rock-A-Dile Red, and the previously-thought-non-existent paper cover for the Wacky Zany Video (click here to read my article about this video).
At this point in the article I would've posted a picture of the "Dancin' Kool-Aid Man" that I acquired years ago. However, I can't find the damn thing! So, I'll just post this letter I received from Kool-Aid Man himself back in 1991 explaining why I had not yet received my order.
I did eventually receive the "Dancin' Kool-Aid Man", and the letter was correct - he was the coolest character I had ever seen. If I ever find it I'll post it in this article.
By far my favorite item to get every year was the new Kool-Aid t-shirt. Like almost every other new product, these would usually feature the newest Kool-Aid character. First up is the Rock-A-Dile Red shirt:
By the way, the shirt was not sold with that fading effect on it, like so many shirts are today. Oh no, I wore this thing so much that it faded all on its own.
Next is the Great Bluedini shirt:
The front of the Pink Swimmingo shirt featured a small design in the pocket of the shirt. The back featured Kool-Aid Man, Pink Swimmingo, Rock-A-Dile Red, and some odd, messy purple character. If anyone knows this guy's name please leave a comment (by clicking the link at the bottom of the page) and let us know.
The next shirt, also featuring Pink Swimmingo, was the "Wacky Wild Beach Party 93". This shirt came with washable markers so kids could color in the shirt over and over again. Of course, I did no such thing and just wore the shirt the way it was made.
The last item I'll post was probably the first item I ever got using Kool-Aid points. It's the Kool-Aid Man video game, released in 1983 for the Atari 2600 game system.
In this game, you play the role of Kool-Aid Man trying to rid the world of all of the "Thirsties" that are trying to drink up all of the Kool-Aid. Hard to visualize? Well, lucky for you, I've uploaded a short video to YouTube of myself playing this game. Well, not the game you see in the picture. I'm actually playing an Atari emulator on my PC, but the game play is exactly the same.
Let this page also be my plea to Kraft to please restart the Kool-Aid points program. I realize times change, and I would have no problem with an updated Kool-Aid points system. It could be like the Coke Rewards program - have unique codes on each Kool-Aid container that people could redeem online for prizes. Come on, it's a brilliant idea! You don't even have to give me credit for coming up with it. Maybe just name a flavor after me or something. Ham-O-Saurus Rex has a nice ring to it, I do think.
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