Candy of the ’80s: What happened to Chewels?

The first gum for many children of the ‘80s was Chewels, the sugar-free gum with a liquid gel in the middle. What it amounted to was squirting gum—the liquid popped out with the first chew—and if we’re being honest, squirting gum doesn’t sound nearly as good now as it did then. Perhaps that’s why it has been off the shelves for three decades.


But for a brief time, Chewels was the gum every kid had to chew. Here’s three things you may (or may not) have known about the flash-in-the-pan squirting gum.

1.) Chewels actually debuted in the 1970s—1977, to be exact—as a sugar-free response to the original gum with a liquid gel, Freshen-Up. To give it the sweet taste, Chewels included the controversial ingredient saccharin, which largely disappeared from products shortly thereafter.

2.) The Chewels slogan was “Chewels tastes better.” It did.

3.) Chewels employed savvy marketing to appeal to the youngest gum-chewers. Ads for Chewels ran on the radio during American Top 40, and this commercial was one of the first to air on MTV in 1981:

Chewels Gum Commercial

Then there was this commercial, which starred pre-Karate Kid, pre-Adventures In Babysitting, pre-Cocktail Elisabeth Shue:

Alas, even an advertising campaign that embraced the music video revolution wasn’t enough to keep Chewels on shelves beyond the mid-80s. And it’s a shame, because while squirting gum may not sound as good now as it did then, any product that unveiled a commercial that looked like a Cars video should have been a smash success forever.

Author: Jerry

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