A look back at the awesome swag from the Kool-Aid Wacky Warehouse
Back in the ’80s and ’90s, mail away premiums were all the rage. Being a comic book reader, I saw ads for thousands of mail away products amid the pages of my favorite books like The Flash and X-Men. One of the more prominent mail away deals was for the Kool-Aid Wacky Warehouse. You would collect points off the labels of Kool-Aid packets and cans and submit them for free stuff (paying postage, of course). It’s much like the rewards programs for hotels and airlines today. The more you use or buy their services, the more points you get and the more stuff that translates into.
Seeing the ads in comic books, I was amazed at all the cool stuff. T-shirts, cassette players, hats, nerf basketball sets, etc. These awesome items were dancing across the page with giant words screaming FREE STUFF!!!! Here are two full page ads advertising the Wacky Warehouse (click images to make bigger).
The ad on the left is themed towards the Kool-Aid flavor, Sharkleberry Fin (Greatest. Kool-Aid. Name. EVER.). You can see the awesome shark mascot (with sunglasses!) for Sharkleberry Fin in the upper right. In the ad to the right, the items are themed more for the Purplesaurus Rex flavor. As you can see, there are tons of cool swag to be had just for drinking your favorite Kool-Aid flavors, clipping the points and sending them in with like 5 bucks in postage. Here’s the Wacky Warehouse order form that goes with the above ads.
Being a Kool-Aid enthusiast, I have come across a bunch of this swag so I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of this cool stuff the Wacky Warehouse was offering. Some of it is, in fact, cool. Some of it, not so much. Here are some of the fun items kids could send away for with Kool-Aid points.
Super Jump Rope – I’m not entirely sure what makes this jump rope so “super”. It actually looks like a pair of Kool-Aid themed nunchuks. The red handles would mask the blood stains of your Kool-Aid Death Match victims.
Wacky Kid’s Canteen – Very goofy looking canteen that kids could carry around with them on their “adventures”. I’m assuming “The Warehouse” wanted it to be filled with Kool-Aid. When did Kool-Aid Man start wearing glasses?
Pitcher and cup sets – Kool-Aid offered these items throughout the Wacky Warehouse promotion. Plastic cups and a pitcher with the Kool-Aid Man face on them. The set would be colored differently depending on what Kool-Aid flavor they would currently be promoting. This particular set is red for Rock-A-Dile Red. If you look in the Wacky Warehouse forms at the top of this article you can see pitcher and cup sets colored blue for Berry Blue and purple for Purplesaurus Rex.
Dancin’ Kool-Aid Man – Motorized, battery powered “dancing” Kool-Aid Man. Lots of fun at parties. Just flip his switch and he’ll “get his groove on” until the batteries wear down. It even played music. I believe you could also set it to “sound activated” so it danced to music you played. Pretty sophisticated piece of machinery. It probably cost 80 kagillion points, though.
Wacky Drink Packet Holder – A holder for your drink packets. Place 10 or 12 packets in here and sit them on your kitchen counter so they will always be handy because we all know it’s too much of a pain in the ass to OPEN THE PANTRY DOOR you lazy SOB.
Kool-Aid Kid dolls – At first, these look like Cabbage Patch Kids, which I guess they are a rip off of that idea, but the dolls themselves look more like the Campbell Kids dolls (ie, creepy as hell). I don’t believe these were exclusive to the Wacky Warehouse. I’m pretty sure you could also buy these in retail stores.
Wacky Warehouse Barbie – This little bit of corporate synergy happened for several years in the ’90s. Kool-Aid got Mattel to brand a limited edition Barbie with the Kool-Aid logo. Some of these were offered to Wacky Warehouse members, while an even smaller amount were offered at certain retail locations. Maybe even as a Mattel mail away.
Hot Wheels Wacky Warehouse Hiway Hauler – More corporate cross branding with Mattel. Hot Wheels offered several different types of vehicles with the Kool-Aid logo including Jeeps, Corvettes and race cars. The Hiway Hauler you see here was the one generally offered to the Wacky Warehouse public.
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