Please tell me you all remember the tale of Boaty McBoatface. Back in 2016, it was proposed that British research ship would be named via online poll, and the winning entry—Boaty McBoatface—was, in an unexpected turn of events, honored by the Minister for Universities and Science. Sort of. The name, too undignified for the ship itself, became the official name of the lead autonomous underwater vehicle hauled by the research ship. Fair enough; the internet can claim that one as a victory. (A robust Wikipedia page for Boaty McBoatface now exists, at least.) Why bring up Boaty now? Because the American Licorice Company is currently holding a contest to name the new Red Vines mascot, and we as the citizens of the internet have a chance to do something special here.
The promotion is in celebration of National Licorice Day, or what those in the know refer to as NLD. According to a press release sent to The Takeout, we have until April 12 (that’s when industry folks celebrate NLD) to submit names for the new creation, a mascot made of a licorice rope who can be seen in a lengthy animation below.
I will admit I am unnerved by its bendy, shapeshifting body, which toggles between hairstyles, accessories, and other formations by contorting its licorice ribbon of a form into various shapes. It sports glasses. It grows long, curly locks. It sports a hat that looks very familiar. It almost seems to share the human form evoked by my corkscrew, faceless and utilitarian.
Here’s what the press release has to say about the naming process:
The Red Vines team will hand-select the most creative submission for the brand’s new mascot on May 6th to receive free candy for a year! The top five suggestions will go live for voting on the Red Vines landing page from April 22nd through April 30th, with all participants to receive a 25% discount in return for voting on the website.
Okay, so it sounds like the first round is mostly based on whatever the marketing team likes best, but the second round is largely up to us voters. How will you effect change in the candy mascot community?
The candy world doesn’t have enough mascots. For whatever reason, while a colorful array of mascots proliferates on cereal boxes (in the United States, anyway), the ones we’re forced to settle for in the confectionery category are disappointing at best. The M&M’s characters are a prominent exception, each with their distinct personalities, but can you honestly tell me you knew the name of Cuppy, the Reese’s mascot? Does your brain reserve any space for thinking about Twinkie the Kid? Probably not. What we need is a candy mascot that sticks. Something that slides into the internet’s consciousness like Gritty and never lets go of its 15 minutes of fame.
Boaty McBoatface’s fame can be at least partially attributed to the fact that, in early 2016, we were all looking to hear about anything but the news. In 2022, things are no different (except, you know, worse). Please make it so that Wikipedia must create a page about the Red Vines mascot naming debacle. Please, let’s all rally together and commit to making a good-natured meme out of a harmless National Licorice Day promotion. We all get a discount on candy just for voting, so why not?
If you’re at a loss for ideas, you could always submit Viney McVineface. There’s no improving upon a classic.