Today is the beginning of our week-long two-year anniversary celebration for CollectingCandy.com – where each day we hope to share an extra-special post – culminating on Thursday, February 6th – when the site turns two.
Kicking off our celebratory week is a retrospective of the $100,000 bar, or the 100 Grand as it is now known. We first touched upon the history of the 100 Grand way back in June of 2012, but since then we’ve added a number of remarkable discoveries to what was previously known about the brand. So please make the jump for our definitive coverage of Nestle’s 100 Grand – a classic chocolate bar which turns 50 this year!
Nestle filed the trademark for the $100,000 bar fifty years ago, in 1964. Though it is unclear if the brand was offered nationwide right away, it at least found its way into one market – as this clipping from a Toledo, Ohio newspaper reveals:
After hunting for one for several years, I was finally lucky enough to be able to add an example of this earliest version of a $100,000 wrapper to my collection – it’s the only one I’ve ever come across:
Isn’t that a beauty? As a collector, it’s always exciting to add a “rookie wrapper” to my collection, and this classic is no exception – it’s a brand I’ve long been a fan of.
I really dig how the “A Fortune in Flavor” tagline ties into the brand’s theme. That tagline was utilized in Nestle’s cross-promotion of the then-fledgling bar on it’s well-known offerings, as you can see here:
The initial version of $100,000 wrapper would stick around for at least a few years, as can be seen in the following trade ads:
The 1960’s would see the introduction of the first $100,000 fun-size or “miniature” bar, as shown by this wrapper:
The original wrapper design would finally see an update right around 1970, when the bar would change to a 2-piece format:
At this point in the wrapper’s design evolution much of the original look remained including the 10-cent printed-on price, though the “A Fortune in Flavor” tagline was dropped.
But by 1972 even the 10-cent price was gone:
It is at this point in the history of the 100 Grand that I want to make my first of two important detours to foreign releases of the bar. When I first began researching the $100,000 bar I assumed it was only ever sold in the United States, but I was wrong.
The earliest foreign release I have been able to track down was produced by Nestle for the South African market, and due to currency differences, its name was given three extra zeros. Take a look at Nestle South Africa’s $1,000,000 bar! [Note the “A Fortune in Flavor” tagline.]:
It’s so much fun to track down and uncover the unusual releases from a brand’s past – especially when they originate in another part of the world.
Traveling back to the United States, the year 1973 would see the first major overhaul of the wrapper design for Nestle’s $100,000 bar – a change described in the following trade clipping:
I refer to the following versions of the $100,000 bar design as the “kid wrappers” and they are the ones I remember from my own childhood. I am pleased to have an example of one of these first-run “kid wrappers” to share and here it is:
These initial $100,000 bar kid wrappers differentiate themselves from later versions by a few traits: no UPC code, use of the plural “Nestle’s” logo, and the phrase “now more chocolate” used in the yellow call-out.
I have one other early run kid wrapper – the only noticeable difference being the inclusion of a 15-cent printed on price:
[Note: I’ve long been curious about the identity of the kid on these 1970’s $100,000 bar wrappers. I still don’t know, but one reader offered up the following information after my 2012 post on the matter: “I went to grade school with the kid on the wrapper
His name is Ricky Mcbrierty and at the time he lived in New Milford, CT.” Without corroboration I can’t speak to the authenticity of my reader’s claim, but I include it just in case Rick Mcbrierty is out there and would be willing to verify for us. We’d love to hear from you!]
By 1976, wrappers would get an update to the singular Nestle company name, while also receiving the then-new touch of a UPC code – also note the 20-cent printed on price and that “Now More Chocolate” has become “Chewy Caramel” in the yellow call-out box:
Here’s an example of a fun-size version from that same year, 1976:
Yet another fun-size variation from a year or two later:
The next three kid wrapper variations I have to show are quite similar, but I include them as there are subtle differences that I’d like to document. By 1977, the standard $100,000 kid wrapper was in place without any printed-on price:
This next version appears near-identical to the last, except that it inexplicably sports a UPC code different from the rest of the 1970’s full-sized $100,000 bar wrappers I have. [Note: My best guess is that this was a vending bar wrapper.]
Another major variation from this period is one that is notable as it is the only non-folded kid wrapper I’ve ever come across. This wrapper sports a pinch-seal style packaging that would become the norm after 1980:
Before I get to the final two USA kid wrappers in my collection, I want to make my second detour to foreign $100,000 bar editions. As was the case with the South African version from the early 70’s, this next wrapper came as a big surprise to me – but one that was delightful to discover.
It turns out that Nestle released the $100,000 bar to the Canadian market using the kid wrapper design, but with with a different (and I’m assuming Canadian) kid on the wrapper! Having previously been so familiar with the USA edition and kid, seeing this wrapper was akin to glimpsing a candy bar wrapper from a parallel universe – it was the same, but different. Here it is:
Isn’t that a crazy one? This Canadian $100,000 bar wrapper example is the only one I’ve ever seen, making it especially remarkable I think.
The last two kid wrappers I have to share both come from 1979 – the last year that the design was used. The first sports an offer that ran across a number of Nestle bars at the time – a mail-away offer I covered previously, for a Superman ring:
Finally, here’s the latest-run kid wrapper I have to show – it sports a number of subtle changes from the earlier versions. For instance, the typeface used in the call out is thin rather than the bold used earlier, and the description of the bar uses two lines rather than just a single line:
Final note on the $100,000 kid wrapper design – though it took over 30 years, it would eventually get parodied in Topps’ Wacky Packages Old School series 3.
1980 would mean the retirement of the $100,000 bar “kid wrapper”, replaced with a more streamlined look. The new wrapper featured a $100,000 logo made more bold with a bit of wood-cut styling to the edges and giving the stage light frame a drop shadow. Here’s a look at what the first kid-less wrapper from 1980 looked like:
With the new style came a new fun size/trial size wrapper to match:
Along with the smaller trial-size, this period is the earliest where I’ve found evidence of a larger 4-piece (later called king-size) version of $100,000 bar:
1982 would be the year of a pretty cool marketing promotion for the $100,000 bar brand – and one I am fortunate to be able to showcase all of the elements of. The next few images are all part of Nestle’s 1982 $100,000 bar “Rock Mini-Album” promotion:
The actual mini-album would arrive from Young America, Minnesota – the location origin of so many mail-away premiums in the 1970’s and 1980’s:
With tracks by Cheap Trick, Journey, Molly Hatchet and REO Speedwagon, it really was a nicely loaded little record that consumers would get.
$100,000 bar wrapper graphics were featured prominently on the album sleeve and even printed on the record itself:
The mid-1980’s would see a major change for the $100,000 bar – as it received a name change from “$100,000” to “100 Grand”, the brand name it retains today. My earliest 100 Grand wrapper example comes from 1986:
I’ve read speculation that states the name change was related to the difficulty in Nestle trademarking the term “$100,000” while “100 Grand” was easier to lock down. It makes sense, but I can’t say for certain if that’s a fact.
Here are a pair of wrappers from a few years after the name change:
In 1992, 100 Grand would get the holiday edition wrapper treatment – at least the fun-size version would. The holiday fun-size 100 Grand wrappers were found as part of a holiday triple-pack that featured the return of Nestle’s classic 1950’s mascot, Farfel the Dog:
After 1993, 100 Grand wrappers, like all food product packaging, received mandatory nutrition labeling:
The end of the 1990’s would see 100 Grand wrappers reflect Nestle’s promotional partnership with Disney-Pixar and Mattel toys:
The 2000’s would bring about a notable fun-size bar outer package. It’s notable in that it is the first time since the 1980’s name change where I’ve encountered a 100 Grand package invoking significant dollar sign imagery, outside of the small $’s found in the description line (this package also sports a tag line of “That’s Rich!” I’ve never found elsewhere):
The mid-2000’s saw a trio of limited edition flavor extension 100 Grand bars, another first for the brand:
This all brings us just about up-to-date on the 100 Grand bar. Here is what a standard-sized bar looked like in 2012 (and still looks like now):
And a fun-size:
While the standard wrapper has been the same for a few years, I noticed just last week that the King Size 100 Grand package received a little bit of a tweak recently. Here are both versions:
With the new version, the 2-Piece King Size package becomes a 2-Piece Share Pack with a twist-to-close wrapper:
And that brings us all the way up to 2014, and concludes our look back at the 50-year history of Nestle’s classic $100,000 (and later 100 Grand) candy bar. It’s taken years to track down all of the pieces found in today’s post, so I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing them as much as I’ve enjoying sharing them with you.
That’s everything for today’s post – the first of four this week to mark CollectingCandy.com’s second anniversary. Check back every day for more exciting posts.
See you next time!
Odd thing: Once knew a guy who thought the candy bar was a $100,000 Pyramid tie-in. I guess the “circle of lights” logo does sort of look like the board on the game show! — http://www.floridawhammy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/100000-pyramid.jpg
I suppose the kid on the label would’ve been a young Dick Clark, in his world!
Ha ha.. That’s pretty great, John.
Amazing how we remember things.
It’s one thing to have a wrapper from the mini-album giveaway in 1982 or maybe even the promotion’s advertisement… but to have the vinyl itself – in that incredible album sleeve – and then the original mini album envelope from Nestle… WOW!
That article was really enjoyable – I can’t believe how comprehensive the collection of wrappers & bonus material is. I wonder if Nestle knows it’s own history as well as Jason!
On another note, is it just me or does the $100,000 name and artwork have so much more pizzazz than 100 Grand? Maybe I’m just being nostalgic, but the 2012 retro holiday tin sure stands out. The original 1964 wrapper artwork is awesome too.
What a terrific collection! In the UK Nestle’s Toffee Crisp also celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last year, the probable reason that Nestle has never launched 100 Grand in the UK is that it’s probably too similar to Toffee Crisp. I adore both bars by the way.
That’s pretty cool! I didn’t know that Toffee Crisp turned 50. Did the brand celebrate or mark the fact at all?
I dig the bar as well, and had a 100 Grand last night after posting the article.
The museum ‘York’s Chocolate Story’ made a giant Toffee Crisp to celebrate and raffled it for charity but I don’t think Nestle did anything official as far as I know:
Chocolate, caramel and crisp rice is a very tasty combination. When I was a young child in the 70’s I remember a dark chocolate version of Toffee Crisp in a blue (instead of orange) wrapper – has there ever been a dark chocolate version of 100 Grand?
Oops, silly me – there it is in full view from 2006 – a shame I missed that one and the coconut!
Amazing – Did not realize it was born in 1964. I remember the kid design only – so mid 70’s was when I was buying them. These and Choco’lite were my favorites for chocolate bars at the time – along with Marathon. The Caravelle by Peter Paul was very comparable in flavor – I remember thinking I liked Caravelle’s chocolate better – but the crispies in the $100,000 bar were best !
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Hi Jason. Just wanted to let you know that I found another $100,000 record while browsing eBay. It’s a 12″ LP with 12 songs and also came out in 1982. You can search eBay for “$100,000 LP” and you’ll find some listings. Here is a listing of the tracks (completely different artists than those on the mini album):
Hot Child In The City – Nick Gilder
Let Me Love You Tonight – Pure Prairie League
The Second Time Around – Shalamar
When Will I Be Loved – Linda Ronstadt
One Way Or Another – Blondie
Gimme Some Lovin’ – Spencer Davis Group
Bluer Than Blue – Michael Johnson
Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue – Crystal Gayle
A Little Bit More – Dr. Hook
Just When I Needed You Most – Randy Van Warmer
Stronger Than Before – Carole Bayer Sager
Steal Away – Robbie Dupree
You did a fantastic history of the $100,000 bar – wonderful stuff!! Thanks for putting it together.
That’s awesome! Thanks for the info Lance. I’ll have to grab one of those when it’s time to do an update on the 100 Grand bar!
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Does anyone remember one of the first ads for the $100,000 bar? I think the words were (something like this) “If you’re lucky enough to have a dollar why don’t you part with a dime? It can get you a hundred thou’ and that’s a brand new candy bar from Nestle’s”
I remember an early TV commercial tied in with the “tastes so good it’s almost illegal” theme. Four (I think) Sheldon-Leonard-type hoodlums who end up singing in barber shop harmony, “Why dontcha do yourself a favor… and get a hunnerd grand in flavor… a hunnerd t’ousand dolla’ candy bar?”
I remember when the bar first came out. There was a commercial featuring a barbershop quartet singing a jingle that included the words, “do yourself a favor get 100 thou in flavor. I can’t find any trace of it on YouTube.
That’s awesome, Larry! Yeah, while there are a lot of old commercials on YouTube, I’d imagine the majority of them are still lost to time. I’ve acquired a few old commercial reels and had them digitally transferred myself, but it’s costly and time consuming. But when you find one that hasn’t been archived yet, it’s worthwhile. So I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a reel of that $100,000 bar commercial you remember. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find one and eventually get it transferred and shared to YouTube!
I have a 1960 box for the 100,000 bars. Are they worth anything?
I actually can verify to my knowledge that Ricky was the boy on the wrapper. My ex husbands first cousin was his girlfriend Kim. The had a little boy together. I lived with Kim and their son Todd, the first couple of weeks after I had my first child. I recall my ex husband telling me the story when we were sitting around her kitchen table. His son Todd was about 5 at the time, 1987. He was originally from Allagash Maine. I believe he moved back to Allagash and perhaps still lives there. I no longer live in the area.
I stumbled upon your page while searching for the reason they named it the $100,000 bar in the first place. I still hear the theme song from the 80s in my head whenever I see one! Thank you for the great history lesson.