Petition Asks for Rescue of Traditional Life Savers Sweet Story Book

A petition at ipetitions.com asks for a return to a variety of Life Saver flavors in the Christmas gif classic, the Life Savers Sweet Story Book.

Currently, the Sweet Story Book (mostly written in two words) is the lowest and cheapest iteration, a set of only “Five Flavor” candies (alternately styled “5 Flavor”. The petition by Matthew Holman is entitled: “Tell Wrigley to bring back the original Lifesavers Sweet Story Book.”

The petition reads:

The original, now a collectors item it seems, had 12 Lifesavers rolls in them, and a variety of flavors: Pep-o-mint, Spear-o-mint, Butterscotch, Orange, Lemon, Wild Cherry, Wint-o-green, Clove, Stik-o-Pep, Butter Rum, Crist-o-mint, and Five Flavor. Then, they went to a 10-pack, but still had a great variety. Eventually, they went to an 8-pack…and then to the dreaded 6-pack. Even the 6-pack was mildly ok, 2 Five Flavor, 2 Wild Cherry, 2 Tropical Fruits.

iPetitions.com resolution on Life Savers

The story book dates from 1935, according to a previous Life Saver website timeline. It was originally a book of a dozen different rolls. The Sweet Story Book is actually a registered trademark, first in 1994, and then renewed in 2014.

The books open up to a set of Life Savers. If you have a large stocking, they are small enough to fit in it. However, they are big enough to be wrapped, under the tree, or given out to children as pre-boxed party favores when adults come to visit during Christmas parties.

For the brand, the original variety version had a number of functions, above the obvious of selling more Life Savers. First, it promotes the different types of Life Savers. Kids could trade them, and/or give the ones like Pep-o-mint to parents, while keeping faves like Wild Cherry. It also allows the company to pass off slow selling flavors; if you have extras of a less popular flavor, you can double up at Christmastime.

The packaging also allowed the candy to exist far past the holiday season; a non-greedy child could have them for a month or so, if they rationed properly. There was also the age-ability of the Life Savers; they were popular candies for kids, but were also used by adults, as breath mints or lozenges.

One other aspect. The original Sweet Story Book had Life Savers on both sides when you opened it; it had a bit of heft. That way, it would work well on a shelf; indeed it was thick enough to sit by itself, either closed, or open to display what was inside.

A 1992 version of the book appears in the files of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Some of the Life Savers original flavors have disappeared, and the Sweet Storybook has not always been available. Planters Life Savers Co. of Winston-Salem, N.C. (the then owners) issued a special Life Savers anniversary Story Book in 1992. Through the years, what has been offered at Christmas has varied. Because of the success of the story book, other candy manufacturers have offered special Christmas gift offerings. Most notable is the M&M tube ornament (the lid of the M&M tube turns into a Christmas ornament), but each year there are dozens of iterations. For instance, Hershey’s offers a Kisses hat, as well as giant tubs of kisses.

Part of the issue is the number of previous owners and brand managers for Life Savers. What was useful about the Life Saver originally was that they were packed so neatly in a foil and wax paper tube. The company has turned it into a desk accessory in wrapped cellphane, or morphed the candy into Life Saver gummies.

Life Savers are more efficiently displayed on a candy shelf, rather than in hanging bags. BRANDLANDUSA photo.

Currently, the Life Savers website does not even offer Life Savers in a roll; you have to get them in annoying bags, which are individually wrapped. That way they would pack easily on a candy store shelf. In fact, when they turned the Life Saver into a hanging package, the company made it far more troublesome to offer them by the checkout. In the old method, you could have perhaps a dozen different mints in the space you can now offer two bags of Life Savers.

History of Life Savers

100 year anniversary edition.

The brand began in 1913, when Clarence Crane started selling Peppermint Life Savers in Cleveland. He sold the company to a fellow named Edward Noble, who figured out how to wrap the mints in foil to preserve taste, and put them by cash registers, creating a national presence for them. (Noble later bought the American Broadcasting Company, or ABC, in 1943.)

E.R. Squibb Corporation purchased the company and in 1981, Nabisco Brands Inc. bought Life Savers, becoming Planters Life Savers. It became part of Kraft when Nabisco and General Foods merged into Kraft, then Wrigley.

Life Savers is now part of Mars, which owns Wrigley, in a unit called Mars Wrigley. Mars owns dozens of brands far from candy, including Uncle Ben’s.

The petition makes a number of points. Mostly, they are about how they loved the books as kids, and wished for them again in their natural form, not the “dreaded six-pack.”

In terms of retro culture, they have the added benefit of being something that has been a constant Christmas gift for as long as every generation has been around. Because the Sweet Story Book began in 1935, that means the oldest Americans in their 90s not only remember giving them to their children in the 50s and 60s, but got they received them as children, before World War II.

  • “I think the children of today deserve this experience!!” Dianne E Diotte
  • “Why was this huge traditional item replaced with the cheap knockoffs?!” Mark Romanoff
  • “Bring back the flavors you bastard!! You should be ashamed!!” Tiffiney Regan
  • “Bring back the story books that had different kinds of life savers. Best Christmas stocking stuffer ever!!” Joey Hodgson
  • “Bring back the double sided Life Saver Book! I don’t mind paying more! Bring back the butterscotch and the wintergreen, all the old flavors!!!” Karen Smith

You can sign the petiton here.

States the petition:

They believe their market is a bunch of candy-hungry children. They work year after year to improve the revenue of The Wrigley Company by taking a way a few rolls from the books every few years. This has gone too far!

About the Author

  • Garland Pollard

    Garland Pollard is publisher/editor of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website BrandlandUSA.com has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands. He has decades of experience across all media, including newspapers, TV, radio, magazines and the web.

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