Though “the Sidekick and the Fast Break” may sound like the title of a 1980’s buddy film, it actually represents the two names under which a single bar was launched just over a decade ago.
Back in 2002, Hershey of Canada launched the Sidekick bar, a delicious mixture of peanut butter, chocolate and nougat. When I came across a wrapper for the brand recently I thought the bar’s description (and packaging illustration) seemed familiar – and I was right as it was the same bar as Reese’s Fast Break!
Further research revealed that both bars were launched in 2002 (some sources point to a 2001 launch for Fast Break but I could not confirm). While Hershey gave the USA-distributed bar a Reese’s Fast Break moniker, Canada got the Hershey branding and the Sidekick title.
Here are the wrappers:
We can assume that differences in regional testing determined the alternative names for this offering.
Seeing both wrappers together reminded me of something I’ve long thought; today we get fewer “completely new” designs and names for candy bars due to an abundance of franchise sub-branding. That is to say that nowadays we have upwards of a dozen offerings under the Reese’s name, but in the past those twelve Reese’s sub-brands could have each had their own unique logo, name and packaging design. The same is true for any number of other treats. M&M’s Mint, for example, used to be Royals, and so on.
Perhaps if the Whatchamacallit bar were introduced today it would have been branded the Reese’s Peanut Crisp, rather than it’s actual title. Though I can’t say for sure, it’s something interesting to consider. This isn’t meant to imply a lack of creativity in the current confectionery world, but rather the strength that some of the larger franchise brands bring to the table these days.
I did find an image of a later variation of the Canadian Sidekick wrapper online and this one introduces an aspect of Reese’s branding into the design of it:
I think it’s pretty fascinating to see how the same candy product is marketed differently depending on which part of the world it is in, and today’s Sidekick/Fastbreak comparison is just one of many examples.
As of this writing, the Canadian Sidekick is no longer produced (it was discontinued in 2006) and the Reese’s Fast Break is not currently being distributed in Canada. So perhaps the flavor combination just wasn’t a hit up north. Of course the Reese’s Fast Break continues to be a mainstay here in the USA. So perhaps that Reese’s branding helped keep it popular after all these years.
And that’s everything I’ve got to share on the Sidekick and the Fast Break. But they’ll be back in “Sidekick and Fastbreak 2: Electric Boogaloo” next Spring! 😉
See ya next time!
The shape of the actual bar seems to have become more square over the years, judging by the picture on the current wrapper. I’m curious about why they say “nougats,” plural instead of singular, on most of the wrappers. The nougat part looks like a solid plank on the bottom of the bar.
I think they had two different flavors of nougat in addition to the peanut butter center and chocolate coating.
Brand extensions are getting old and are rather confusing, IMO. It’s not limited to the candy industry either. I like it better when they come up with all new brand names, identies, and packaging, and I bet you as a candy wrapper collector, do too! Creativity has taken a hit in our business world, replaced by laziness (which brand extensions are the perfect example). There’s little that’s original these days in all aspects of our culture…sigh…ah, the good ole’ days!