TNB Night Owl – Butterfinger Buzz

Halloween Candy. photo by Luke Jones.

Every year at around this time I try to cover a few Halloween items, and among them are a couple of candy oddities. This year is no exception. Every year I try to cover a few products which didn’t just fail, but failed spectacularly. This year is no exception. I can even perform both tasks simultaneously with the Butterfinger Buzz.

Candy bars regularly try to produce alternate flavors in an effort to boost sales. Standards like Kit Kat bars can be found in Green Tea, Apple, and Rum Raisin when in Asia, and M&Ms have expanded beyond the basic plain and peanut to include almond, peanut butter, crisp rice, dark chocolate and a slew of seasonal flavors. In many cases, “limited time” options are introduced to see if they might catch on with the purchasing public… the equivalent of a pilot episode of a television show.

Butterfinger Buzz was one of those ideas. Because of the distinctive texture and flavor of a Butterfinger bar, the makers have generally been limited to playing with the size. Minis, bbs, king size and more are examples of this. They’ve also adapted it for chocolate- coated crackers (snackerz, crisps) and peanut butter cups. In 2009, another idea was tried: infusing the bar with something that wouldn’t significantly alter the taste, but would be a marketing point. Specifically, caffeine.

Chocolate already contains a small measure of caffeine, and chocolate-covered espresso beans are popular snack items for some people. The idea seemed like it might work.

In the end, it worked about as well as the Snickers Charged bar from the year before… which is to say, not at all. Snickers Charged had an image of a rhino on the silver packaging and promised to mix a normal snickers with a full energy drink, and it did so; consumers complained of a sickly energy drink aftertaste which would linger in their mouth for more than an hour. Butterfinger had no such problems with the taste, there was simply no significant demand for their product.

Butterfinger Buzz was pulled shortly after it hit the shelves, making way for a candy people would actually buy. Before it left, though, the marketing team made a couple of commercials which warned people not to attempt what was seen… but would likely have triggered lawsuits from copycats anyway, had the candy caught on, because the first involved having a stencil held up to the side of a recently-shaved head while someone fired a paintball gun at their skull. The second, far more simplistic and more obviously unrealistic, featured the candy bars glowing like lightsticks with unusually long-lived trails at what seemed to be meant as a rave in the woods without music.

For those who want caffeinated chocolate, the espresso beans are still available, although without the EXTREME marketing.

Question of the night: What’s a discontinued product you enjoyed?

About the opinions in this article…

Any opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or of the other authors/contributors who write for it.

About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.