Today is the beginning of our week-long two-year anniversary celebration for CollectingCandy.com – where each day we hope to share an extra-special post – culminating on Thursday, February 6th – when the site turns two.
Kicking off our celebratory week is a retrospective of the $100,000 bar, or the 100 Grand as it is now known. We first touched upon the history of the 100 Grand way back in June of 2012, but since then we’ve added a number of remarkable discoveries to what was previously known about the brand. So please make the jump for our definitive coverage of Nestle’s 100 Grand – a classic chocolate bar which turns 50 this year!
Nestle filed the trademark for the $100,000 bar fifty years ago, in 1964. Though it is unclear if the brand was offered nationwide right away, it at least found its way into one market – as this clipping from a Toledo, Ohio newspaper reveals:
After hunting for one for several years, I was finally lucky enough to be able to add an example of this earliest version of a $100,000 wrapper to my collection – it’s the only one I’ve ever come across:
Isn’t that a beauty? As a collector, it’s always exciting to add a “rookie wrapper” to my collection, and this classic is no exception – it’s a brand I’ve long been a fan of.
I really dig how the “A Fortune in Flavor” tagline ties into the brand’s theme. That tagline was utilized in Nestle’s cross-promotion of the then-fledgling bar on it’s well-known offerings, as you can see here:
The initial version of $100,000 wrapper would stick around for at least a few years, as can be seen in the following trade ads:
The 1960′s would see the introduction of the first $100,000 fun-size or “miniature” bar, as shown by this wrapper:
The original wrapper design would finally see an update right around 1970, when the bar would change to a 2-piece format:
At this point in the wrapper’s design evolution much of the original look remained including the 10-cent printed-on price, though the “A Fortune in Flavor” tagline was dropped.
But by 1972 even the 10-cent price was gone:
It is at this point in the history of the 100 Grand that I want to make my first of two important detours to foreign releases of the bar. When I first began researching the $100,000 bar I assumed it was only ever sold in the United States, but I was wrong.
The earliest foreign release I have been able to track down was produced by Nestle for the South African market, and due to currency differences, its name was given three extra zeros. Take a look at Nestle South Africa’s $1,000,000 bar! [Note the "A Fortune in Flavor" tagline.]:
It’s so much fun to track down and uncover the unusual releases from a brand’s past – especially when they originate in another part of the world.
Traveling back to the United States, the year 1973 would see the first major overhaul of the wrapper design for Nestle’s $100,000 bar – a change described in the following trade clipping:
I refer to the following versions of the $100,000 bar design as the “kid wrappers” and they are the ones I remember from my own childhood. I am pleased to have an example of one of these first-run “kid wrappers” to share and here it is:
These initial $100,000 bar kid wrappers differentiate themselves from later versions by a few traits: no UPC code, use of the plural “Nestle’s” logo, and the phrase “now more chocolate” used in the yellow call-out.
I have one other early run kid wrapper – the only noticeable difference being the inclusion of a 15-cent printed on price:
[Note: I've long been curious about the identity of the kid on these 1970's $100,000 bar wrappers. I still don't know, but one reader offered up the following information after my 2012 post on the matter: "I went to grade school with the kid on the wrapper
His name is Ricky Mcbrierty and at the time he lived in New Milford, CT." Without corroboration I can't speak to the authenticity of my reader's claim, but I include it just in case Rick Mcbrierty is out there and would be willing to verify for us. We'd love to hear from you!]
By 1976, wrappers would get an update to the singular Nestle company name, while also receiving the then-new touch of a UPC code – also note the 20-cent printed on price and that “Now More Chocolate” has become “Chewy Caramel” in the yellow call-out box:
Here’s an example of a fun-size version from that same year, 1976:
Yet another fun-size variation from a year or two later:
The next three kid wrapper variations I have to show are quite similar, but I include them as there are subtle differences that I’d like to document. By 1977, the standard $100,000 kid wrapper was in place without any printed-on price:
This next version appears near-identical to the last, except that it inexplicably sports a UPC code different from the rest of the 1970′s full-sized $100,000 bar wrappers I have. [Note: My best guess is that this was a vending bar wrapper.]
Another major variation from this period is one that is notable as it is the only non-folded kid wrapper I’ve ever come across. This wrapper sports a pinch-seal style packaging that would become the norm after 1980:
Before I get to the final two USA kid wrappers in my collection, I want to make my second detour to foreign $100,000 bar editions. As was the case with the South African version from the early 70′s, this next wrapper came as a big surprise to me – but one that was delightful to discover.
It turns out that Nestle released the $100,000 bar to the Canadian market using the kid wrapper design, but with with a different (and I’m assuming Canadian) kid on the wrapper! Having previously been so familiar with the USA edition and kid, seeing this wrapper was akin to glimpsing a candy bar wrapper from a parallel universe – it was the same, but different. Here it is:
Isn’t that a crazy one? This Canadian $100,000 bar wrapper example is the only one I’ve ever seen, making it especially remarkable I think.
The last two kid wrappers I have to share both come from 1979 – the last year that the design was used. The first sports an offer that ran across a number of Nestle bars at the time – a mail-away offer I covered previously, for a Superman ring:
Finally, here’s the latest-run kid wrapper I have to show – it sports a number of subtle changes from the earlier versions. For instance, the typeface used in the call out is thin rather than the bold used earlier, and the description of the bar uses two lines rather than just a single line:
Final note on the $100,000 kid wrapper design – though it took over 30 years, it would eventually get parodied in Topps’ Wacky Packages Old School series 3.
1980 would mean the retirement of the $100,000 bar “kid wrapper”, replaced with a more streamlined look. The new wrapper featured a $100,000 logo made more bold with a bit of wood-cut styling to the edges and giving the stage light frame a drop shadow. Here’s a look at what the first kid-less wrapper from 1980 looked like:
With the new style came a new fun size/trial size wrapper to match:
Along with the smaller trial-size, this period is the earliest where I’ve found evidence of a larger 4-piece (later called king-size) version of $100,000 bar:
1982 would be the year of a pretty cool marketing promotion for the $100,000 bar brand – and one I am fortunate to be able to showcase all of the elements of. The next few images are all part of Nestle’s 1982 $100,000 bar “Rock Mini-Album” promotion:
The actual mini-album would arrive from Young America, Minnesota – the location origin of so many mail-away premiums in the 1970′s and 1980′s:
With tracks by Cheap Trick, Journey, Molly Hatchet and REO Speedwagon, it really was a nicely loaded little record that consumers would get.
$100,000 bar wrapper graphics were featured prominently on the album sleeve and even printed on the record itself:
The mid-1980′s would see a major change for the $100,000 bar – as it received a name change from “$100,000″ to “100 Grand”, the brand name it retains today. My earliest 100 Grand wrapper example comes from 1986:
I’ve read speculation that states the name change was related to the difficulty in Nestle trademarking the term “$100,000″ while “100 Grand” was easier to lock down. It makes sense, but I can’t say for certain if that’s a fact.
Here are a pair of wrappers from a few years after the name change:
In 1992, 100 Grand would get the holiday edition wrapper treatment – at least the fun-size version would. The holiday fun-size 100 Grand wrappers were found as part of a holiday triple-pack that featured the return of Nestle’s classic 1950′s mascot, Farfel the Dog:
After 1993, 100 Grand wrappers, like all food product packaging, received mandatory nutrition labeling:
The end of the 1990′s would see 100 Grand wrappers reflect Nestle’s promotional partnership with Disney-Pixar and Mattel toys:
The 2000′s would bring about a notable fun-size bar outer package. It’s notable in that it is the first time since the 1980′s name change where I’ve encountered a 100 Grand package invoking significant dollar sign imagery, outside of the small $’s found in the description line (this package also sports a tag line of “That’s Rich!” I’ve never found elsewhere):
The mid-2000′s saw a trio of limited edition flavor extension 100 Grand bars, another first for the brand:
This all brings us just about up-to-date on the 100 Grand bar. Here is what a standard-sized bar looked like in 2012 (and still looks like now):
And a fun-size:
While the standard wrapper has been the same for a few years, I noticed just last week that the King Size 100 Grand package received a little bit of a tweak recently. Here are both versions:
With the new version, the 2-Piece King Size package becomes a 2-Piece Share Pack with a twist-to-close wrapper:
And that brings us all the way up to 2014, and concludes our look back at the 50-year history of Nestle’s classic $100,000 (and later 100 Grand) candy bar. It’s taken years to track down all of the pieces found in today’s post, so I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing them as much as I’ve enjoying sharing them with you.
That’s everything for today’s post – the first of four this week to mark CollectingCandy.com’s second anniversary. Check back every day for more exciting posts.
See you next time!