Digital Reference Library
Kids Television Shows
Baby Boomer Family
THE KOOL-AID KIDS
Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska. All of his experiments took place in his mother's kitchen. Its predecessor was a liquid concentrate called Fruit Smack. To reduce shipping costs, in 1927, Perkins discovered a way to remove the liquid from Fruit Smack, leaving only a powder. This powder was named Kool-Aid.
Perkins moved his production to Chicago in 1931 and Kool-Aid was sold to General Foods in 1953. Hastings still celebrates a yearly summer festival called Kool-Aid Days on the second weekend in August, in honor of their city's claim to fame. Kool-Aid is known as Nebraska's official soft drink. An agreement between Kraft Foods and SodaStream in 2012 made Kool-Aid's various flavors available for consumer purchases and use with SodaStream's home soda maker machine.
Kool-Aid is usually sold in powder form, in either packets or small tubs. The actual beverage is prepared by mixing the powder with sugar (the packets of powder are usually, though not always, unsweetened) and water, typically by the pitcherful. The drink is usually either served with ice or refrigerated and served chilled. Additionally, there are some sugar-free varieties. Kool-Aid is also sold as single-serving packets designed to be poured into bottled water, as small plastic bottles with pre-mixed drink, or as such novelties as ice cream or fizzing tablets. The colors in Kool-Aid will stain, and hence the substance can be used as a dye for either hair or wool.
The Kool-Aid Man, an anthropomorphic pitcher filled with Kool-Aid, is the mascot of Kool-Aid. The character was introduced shortly after General Foods acquired the brand in the 1950s. In television and print ads, the Kool-Aid Man was known for randomly bursting through walls of children's homes and proceeding to make a batch of Kool-Aid for them. His catch phrase is "Oh, yeah!" Starting in 2011, Kraft began allocating the majority of the Kool-Aid marketing budget towards Latinos. According to the brand, almost 20 percent of Kool-Aid drinkers are Hispanic, and slightly more than 20 percent are African-American.
In 2013, Kraft decided to overhaul the Kool-Aid Man, re-imagining him as a CGI character, "a celebrity trying to show that he's just an ordinary guy."