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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Snacks and Sweets Expo 2010 - It's No Skittlebrau

102_1253, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

While the prospects of a real Duff beer may seem like an awesome idea - there is a company that went pretty much the exact opposite route and made a Duff-brand energy drink.

I think that energy drinks would be pretty much the exact opposite of a beer. Beer tends to make you sleepy, mentally-impaired and is technically/chemically a depressant. Energy drinks wake you up, energize your brain and are pretty much a form of stimulant.

So what can be said about the energy drink itself? Well, we were lucky enough to meet a promoter who was kind enough to let us have a nice chilled sample can of Duff (picture proof to come later) and it was quite awesome.

It's actually citrus-flavored, mostly orange but I tasted a little grapefruit in there as well. It was rather sweet, and had no real bitter aftertaste that accompanies most energy drinks.

All in all, a neat little beverage, though its usage of the "Duff" name and Simpsons imagery is more of a marketing gimmick than anything having to do with the product that would sell well on its own merits.

I'd love to see Duffman and the other Duff mascots (Sleazy, Queasy, Surly, Edgy, Tipsy, Dizzy, and Remorseful) trying to promote this product...

"Can't get enough of that wonderful Duff!"

Read more!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Snacks and Sweets Expo 2010 - A Picture of the End

102_1259, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

It feels like I'm slowly making my way backwards with pictures and stories from the Expo instead of simply starting at the beginning. So the best I can do right now is pick a picture from the Expo that sums up my feelings right now and just run with it.

What you are seeing here is simply a beautiful representation the end of the Expo: a crumpled mass of empty cardboard.

You see, the exhibitors take a lot of time setting up their displays, showcasing their new products and best products - and then GUARDING THE HELL OUT OF THEM. Tape, signage, stern lectures - anything that keeps the display looking nice so that it will attract business and intrigue about the products. An empty display sells no product.

Then 1pm hits on Thursday afternoon. The exhibitors are tired and there's only an hour left of the convention. Some of them decide to go the whole nine yards and say "these are my products, my supply is limited, I'm packing it up and taking it back with me".

The other 95% say "why waste that time and energy? I don't need this stuff, as it has now completed its purpose - take it off my hands."

Well, of those 95% of vendors, I'd say half of them willingly say it, and the other half are just victims of it. The greed takes over, and the masses want their freebies and souvenirs and bragging rights.

Ferrero Rocher is my prime example - their displays are exquisite pillars of shiny wrapped candies in shiny translucent boxes. And every year, one of the attendants at their large booth finally waves the white flag and says, "You see all those 'DO NOT EAT' stickers and the tape we use to keep our candies safe from you masses? IGNORE THEM."

Bedlam ensues. Within a span of 15 minutes, the displays go from shining examples of a company's pride to . . . well, you can see the picked-clean skeletons of cardboard discarded in the center of the carpeted area, devoid of any signs of life or sugary goodness. Around the hall, you can see the boxes in threes and fours tucked under the arms and poking from the tops of the bags of the victors.

Because to the victors go the spoils of war.

And all that remains on the battlefield are the tiny stains of ground-up chocolate mashed into the carpet as casualties of war and the cardboard graves in memorium to those candies who perished on this glorious day that shall live in infamy.

Until next year, Ferrero Rocher... Until next year...

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Snacks and Sweets Expo 2010 - The Initial Post

This is a post to remind myself to upload some pictures, post them to the Expo's Flickr page (and do a check to see if others posted pics with me in them), maybe give some shout-outs to the social networking and candy people I met at the Expo - and then start up with the reviews!

So much candy, so many snacks and sweets, so many random tales to tell and attempt to recall.

I need to post about the new products coming out from these awesome candy companies, and the giant creepy mascots we encountered (including Garfield, who happened to be hocking coffee products), and some of my highlights of the Expo (oh, Jack Links crane machine, I will miss you). There were wheels to spin, prizes to win, and win we did!

*glances at a 3-foot-long tube of gumballs*

Don't worry, there's pictures.

Speaking of which, one story that I must tell right now because it's freshest in my mind (it happened as we were leaving the Expo center):

I was doing lots of Twitter posting during the Expo. It seemed to be their new thing this year, and the organizers at the NCA sent notifications to everyone attending about Twitter. They had an @SWEETSandSNACKS profile to follow with interesting updates (especially during the showcases and panels), and a hashtag #SSE10 for people to use that would not only show up on a huge TV screen in the Connection Café section of the Expo, but also make you eligible for prizes during the Wednesday Tweetup. Oh yes, there was a Tweetup, and more about that awesomeness (and prizes) later.

Anyway, thanks to Twitter, I was making new network connections, chatting about booths and awesome stuff going on, and taking pictures of interesting people I was meeting.

Fast-forward to the end of the Expo, 2pm Thursday and the mad mob heading out. I make it through security with my giant bag of candy being taken home for Day 3 and I hear people waving towards me and calling for me. I'm taken aback as I recognize the two girls from the Rips booth (where I played Plinko every day trying to win another tin truck like I did last year), and they're calling for me.

They've been following my tweets all week, and told me that they would score some major cool points with the rest of their crew if they could get a photo WITH ME.

That's right - somehow at a convention center full of people who are taking pictures of the exhibitors and their products and mascots, this company's reps wanted to get a photo WITH ME.

I was overjoyed - and as one of them got the shot with the other next to me and my girlfriend, I simply had to thank them and get their Twitter account names (since they'd apparently been using it to follow my tweets). So as soon as I got home, I connected myself to @RipsLicorice and @EiffelBonBons - knowing that they are the company accounts, but if they're really that interested, they'll know where to find me.

And maybe I'll find that picture they took with me - somewhere on the 'net and sometime in the future. So I can have proof that in 3 days at the Sweets and Snacks Expo 2010, I somehow became so awesome that people wanted to get pictures with me.

Come to think of it, there was someone ELSE at a booth who asked to take a photo of me as well - but those were different reasons and another story to tell after some rest and recombobulation after such an exciting time.

Back to the candy sorting and maybe eating some healthier food for dinner! Read more!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Fact of the Day - May 5, 2010

100505, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

Been a while, but I needed a pick-me-up and felt like making fun of jellyfish and doing a crappy drawing after-hours would suffice.

Jellyfish are the worst combination of attributes: deadly, immortal, and not at all tasty.

So be careful in the water - and avoid any smacks of jellyfish you encounter. Stay safe!

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