Cracker Jack's Prize In The Box Will Now Be Digitized

Apr 29, 2016
Originally published on May 17, 2016 9:42 pm

What do you get in Cracker Jack? A QR code, apparently.

The "Prize Inside" will no longer actually be inside the box, Frito-Lay has announced. Like so many other aspects of our lives, the prize will be digitized.

Download an app, scan a sticker inside the Cracker Jack box and access "baseball-inspired mobile digital experiences," the company said, launching the change ahead of baseball season. The packaging and logo will also be "contemporized."

On the Cracker Jack Facebook page, commenters were not impressed:

"An app is not a prize," one quipped.

"The backbone of Cracker Jack has always been a young child's treasure hunt......SHAME ON YOU," another proclaimed.

"Wow. In all my nearly 56 years on this planet, I have never been so disappointed in a product," said one woman.

Yet another wrote, simply: "Forget you."

A Facebook community with more than 1,000 likes is calling on Frito-Lay to "Put the PRIZE back in Cracker Jack."

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And now the news that shocked some in our newsroom and caused the rest of us to make fun of them.


(Laughter). Cracker Jack is dropping the toy surprise and replacing it with mobile digital experiences.

CORNISH: And what exactly does that mean?

MCEVERS: It means no more instant gratification, no more shoving your hand into a sticky bag of caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts and pulling out...

CORNISH: A temporary tattoo, a tiny baseball card, a little joke book with little jokes.

MCEVERS: (Laughter). Now you'll get a sticker with a QR code - basically a digital ticket for a prize.

CORNISH: Of course, you'll need to download a special smartphone app to read this QR code.

MCEVERS: And your virtual prize? One of four baseball-themed experiences on your mobile device.

CORNISH: Because, you know, baseball and Cracker Jacks go hand-in-hand like, well, today's American public and their smartphones.

MCEVERS: And Frito-Lay, which makes Cracker Jack, knows this. They say this change is a way to embrace a modernized young-at-heart attitude. We weren't so sure about that. So we took a bag of the new, improved Cracker Jack to the National Mall to hear what visitors think.

CORNISH: Cameron Williams dove in.

CAMERON: Oh, found it. Aim and frame the prize sticker. I think you have to watch the game or something 'cause it says, experience it come to life. Yeah, it is cool.

MCEVERS: Charlotte Harris has been following this Cracker Jack news closely.


MCEVERS: She and her son Finn are fans of the old toys.

HARRIS: We got a sticky thing one time, like, a wall-crawler type deal.

FINN: Yeah, that was definitely worth it.

CRAIG SWANSON: I'm OK with this.

CORNISH: Craig Swanson. He is embracing the change. Not so Amia Beng-Hendon and Mary-Clair O'Connor.

AMIA BENG-HENDON: I don't know. I like the toys better. I think I like the toys...

MARY-CLAIR: Yeah, me too. Yeah, I think that reminds me of my childhood.

MCEVERS: Yes, the view from the ripe old age of 13. We hear you, ladies. It is hard to get nostalgic over a QR code.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (Singing) Crackerjack. Candy-coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize. That's what you get in Cracker Jacks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.