Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sea Monkeys

My first attempt at purchasing a retail item by mail order did not go as expected. If I recall correctly, I sent coins in an envelope. A pack returned and in my haste, I did not exactly follow directions. 

I gave an enthusiastic and extended stir when adding the packet to water. The adult supervisor informed me that anything potentially living would be no longer doing so, post tornado mixing. Unfortunately true.

What is fairly amazing is that they are still sold in an era where customer reviews are easily accessible. Still, not a huge price differential. 

If you are up for it, a few bits about the inevitable outcome of providing kids with discretionary cash.

As Uncle Milton’s Ant Farms became popular, H. Von Braunhut discovered a Salt Lake original . . . no I am not implying that Sea Monkeys are Mormons . . . brine shrimp were being sold in pet stores as fish food. 

Brine shrimp have a dried, suspended state and Von Braunhut, working with some smart guys, created a method to revive the little crustaceans with tap water and “magic crystals”

They were sold in 1960 as Instant Life, a more accurate term than anything involving primates.

However, there was a problem. Wham-O had tried Instant Fish. African Killfish lay eggs that dry out and become reanimated. Unfortunately they don't lay enough eggs to make the prospect viable and really, Instant Fish may not have been the most enticing branding concept. Instant Shrimp really weren't gong to cut it.  

Marketing got involved and the future Vice President of DC comic, Joe Orlando was hired to illustrate the newly-named Sea Monkeys

Not exactly a true representation and evidently the Federal Trade Commission had other things to regulate. 

The official response? “I think kids are pretty clever at making things work or finding ways to have fun, even with something that may disappoint them because they’re not exactly what they appeared.” 

Well that is a different spin on things but I guess the pharmaceutical agencies are making billions on the same marketing principles. 

Sea Monkeys were advertised in comic books and promised a bowl-full of happiness.

So what do you do if you've sold kids a bowl of happiness? Provide MORE happiness! Offerings including banana treats (a long-lasting supply of dessert for Sea Monkeys ), magic vitamins (every known vitamins needed for robust health) and sea diamonds (toys your pets will actually play with.)

On paper a much better product than the Slinky, which is arguably as exciting, but requires only stairs. 

Um, never mind.

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