For almost 125 years, every box (and, these days, bag) of Cracker Jack has come with a prize—some tangible thing, be it a trinket or a temporary tattoo. Now, in an effort to show that the Cracker Jack brand "embraces a modernized, young-at-heart attitude," PepsiCo's Frito-Lay is replacing the prizes of the past with a "Prize Inside sticker," according to a Thursday press release, except it's not the kind of sticker you stick to a paper. Rather, Cracker Jack eaters will have to download an app and then scan the sticker to partake in one of four "baseball-themed experiences"; sample experience: "show off your dance moves on a simulated baseball field jumbo screen on your phone." Writing for Gizmodo, Alissa Walker acknowledges that Cracker Jack prizes "haven't been cool for some time." But she adds, "They were real. They did not require a smartphone."
Randee Dawn of Today shares a similar sentiment: "The whole thing seems like it'll have just a little less joy inside. Aw, nuts!" Consumers reacting to the announcement on Facebook are voicing their displeasure. "In all my nearly 56 years on this planet, I have never been so disappointed in a product," writes one. Another upset fan questions the motive behind the switch: "It's not a prize. It's click bait to more advertising." The look of Cracker Jack's packaging also is changing: The red and white stripes are becoming more pronounced, and Sailor Jack and Bingo are getting a refresh. Cracker Jack's classic waxed-cardboard box has been in use for 117 years, Walker notes, adding that, when half full, it "doubled as a noisemaker at the game." To offer Cracker Jack in a bag, she writes, is an "affront to American innovation." (Snacking on regular peanuts may have an unexpected benefit.)