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Ouch! Bubble Gum: The Nostalgic Candy That You Probably Forgot About

May 08, 2023

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Bubble gum has been around for several years, so many variations have come and gone. Still, when we remember one specific gum from a couple of decades ago, it brings back a sugar rush of emotions. Pretty sweet, huh? Nostalgia is a powerful treat.

Speaking of which, remember Ouch! Bubble Gum? This beloved chewing gum was around the 1990s and late 2000s and sold in tin containers resembling band-aid boxes. The gum only lasted until around 2009. In fact, many folks may have forgotten it, but not all.

For instance, back in 2018, one YouTuber with thousands of subscribers fondly reminisced over Ouch! Bubble Gum in a Throwback Thursday clip. The top comments on the video were full of others pining for this bygone product. It was the same over on Reddit, where users recalled various memories of Ouch! Bubble Gum, such as smelling the candy on childhood road trips, receiving boxes of it from their grandpa, and even storing actual band-aids in the tin box after emptying it.

This nostalgia also endures well into the 2020s, with people on TikTok gathering up to a million views with their recent retrospectives on Ouch! Bubble Gum. So, who do we thank for all these wonderful recollections?

Take a journey with us, briefly, far beyond the aughts to the ancient origins of gum. The modern era is not alone in loving to chew on treats. As far back as 7000 B.C., some Europeans snacked on birch bark tar. Similarly, certain North American indigenous peoples chomped on spruce tree resin. European colonizers eventually followed their lead, and by the mid-1800s, this transitioned into a full-blown chewing gum factory. Feeling nostalgic?

Almost surely not, but this rewind through time does bring us to the eventual inventor of Ouch! Bubble Gum: The Wrigley (Wm. Jr.) Co. During the late 19th century, many decided to get in on the burgeoning gum industry, including William Wrigley Jr. Originally a soap salesman, Wrigley began selling baking soda in Chicago circa the 1890s but soon turned his attention instead to chewing gum brands, such as Juicy Fruit and Spearmint.

True bubble gum, however, was invented by another business in 1928 and dubbed it Dubble Bubble. The fact that only pink dye was available at the inventor's place of employment is why bubble gum is usually pink to this day. This then paved the way for the Wrigley Co., decades after Wrigley's passing, to add Hubba Bubba to its brands in the 1970s and Hubba Bubba's Ouch! Bubble Gum two decades later. Unfortunately, nothing can last forever, not even Ouch! Bubble Gum.

Not only did the band-aid box design of Ouch! Bubble Gum not last to the present day, but it appears neither did the product itself. Certain virtual retailers, like Amazon, still list the stuff on their site, but in that case (and others), the item is "Currently unavailable," with a note explaining, "We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock." It does, however, sport a 3-and-a-half-star rating, with some customers lauding the nostalgia and others being disappointed in the gum itself. However, Ouch! Bubble Gum's vintage tins can still be bought from individual online sellers, like those on eBay.

We don't mean to play the blame game here, but who do we need to petition to get Hubba Bubba's Ouch! Bubble Gum back on store shelves — Wrigley? Well, sort of. Wrigley is now part of Mars, Inc., the owner of other iconic candies, such as Altoids, Life Savers, M&M's, and Skittles. As one of the leading food businesses in the world, Mars even deals in alcohol, pet supplies, and tobacco, and yet, it can't carry the widely beloved Ouch! Bubble Gum? In the end, this nostalgia trip seems to have reopened a wound consumers are going to need a bubble gum band-aid for!