Long known for its manufacturing of a variety of confections, the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company introduced Hubba Bubba as the company's first bubble gum. Unlike previous Wrigley products--including Juicy Fruit and Doublemint--Hubba Bubba was noted for its stretchability and, as the name suggests, ease in blowing bubbles.
William Wrigley founded his namesake company in 1891. A salesman residing in Chicago, Wrigley sold soap and baking powder. He used gum, still a novelty at the time, as a bonus to those who purchased his products. Based on historical accounts, Wrigley found the gum to be more popular than the soap and baking powder he was pedaling, so he switched gears and began selling chewing gum. Within the next several years, Wrigley introduced the Spearmint and Juicy Fruit names and opened several factories. Within the first quarter of the 20th century, the company had a presence in other countries.
Invention of Bubble Gum
Gum chewing took on a new dimension in 1928 when Walter Diemer created a recipe for bubble gum. Diemer, an accountant with the Fleer chewing gum company, was known to spend time off the clock trying out different gum-related recipes. Unlike traditional chewing gum, Diemer's recipe for bubble gum was less sticky and stretched more easily.
Hubba Bubba Launched
More than 50 years after the invention of bubble gum, the Wrigley company introduced Hubba Bubba in 1979. It was Wrigley's first foray into the bubble gum market. According to the company website, the name was derived from the phrase "hubba bubba" used by World War II soldiers to denote approval.
Initially, Hubba Bubba was available solely in the United States. Wrigley marketed Hubba Bubba as a product that was less sticky than similar bubble gum brands. Chewers could burst bubbles without the fear of having difficulty removing the gum from their face. To get the word out about Hubba Bubba, Wrigley launched TV advertisements with a Western theme that ended with the slogan, "Big bubbles, no troubles."
Discontinued Briefly in U.S.
In the 1980s, Wrigley expanded the distribution of Hubba Bubba to other countries, including Australia, Canada, Croatia, Germany and the United Kingdom. That same decade, Wrigley decided to exit the bubble gum business in the United States. After about a 15-year hiatus, Hubba Bubba resumed production in the U.S. in 2004.
Flavors and Packaging
Initially, Hubba Bubba was sold solely in chunks, which were an alternative to traditional stick gum. More recently, Wrigley also has sold Hubba Bubba in a format known as bubble tape that comes in a canister. For years, Wrigley sold Hubba Bubba solely in a strawberry type of flavor. Known more recently as the original flavor, Hubba Bubba products now come in a variety of flavors. Among them are lime, root beer and tropical. Flavor branding includes such catchy names as Oasis Orange and Cool Cola.
Dave Fidlin is a Milwaukee-based journalist and freelance writer. For more than eight years he wrote exclusively for a weekly community newspaper. He now composes pieces for a variety of print and online publications.