Flavor: In the interest of being fair and thorough here, I’m going to save all my Shaun White commentary for the presentation portion of this review. Let’s pretend this gum didn’t have a weird CGI image of a pro snowboarder on the cover, and talk about what we’re really buying here– the gum. It’s super refreshing and cool, with a slight hint of sweet in the bite. I’ve got to say, though, that I personally can’t get past this new chemical taste that all Stride gums have these days. It leaves this weird film on my tongue, and something in there reminds me of what I imagine Noxema to taste like. I will say, though, that Stride has been putting out some nasty flavors lately and this one isn’t that bad.
Texture: Very good, long lasting chew. Texture has never been Stride’s weakness.
Presentation: Could it be that this is the first athlete representing a gum? I don’t recall whether or not Big League Chew ever actually claimed a real life baseball player as their hollywood representative, but at least that would have sort of… made sense. Big League Chew looks like chewing tobacco. Who chews chewing tobacco? Baseball players. Natural sponsorship. Stride Whitemint is… well, white. And cold, sort of like snow. But so are lots of gums, right? Why doesn’t Shaun White represent Dentyne Ice? Or Mentos (the freshmaker)? I could picture him in a mentos commercial… in fact, I would love to see that dude in a mentos commercial. He’s just about the coolest guy that ever set board on a half pipe; there’s no denying that Shaun White deserves to make lots of money selling product, that much is clear.
But what is going on here, Stride? It’s like they didn’t even try to stitch some kind of connection between sponsor and product. “Oh hey, we got Shaun White. What should we call it, Shaun White Gum? No no no. I’ve got it. Whitemint. That’s clever.” So they’re going simple, I’ll buy that. But they’re not going simple. Printed on the inside of the package is a cartoon that places Shaun White in some kind of competition with a ram. I quote, “It’s on! Man versus Ram. One a competitive animal with freakish strength that loves to be scratched. The other has horns. Together in a fierce competition to see who is the best spokesman… or spokesanimal!” Um. Well. At least they didn’t call this gum “Ram-mint.”
Overall: A swing and a miss… I guess? I just don’t know what to think here. I feel sort of like I’m missing some inside joke (which I very well might be) that Shaun White has with the rest of the world. If you know the secret, please comment (but try not to make me look old or dumb). If not, I’ve got to say that of all celebrities, this is one for whom Stride actually could pull off a half-baked weirdo marketing plan. Throw a bunch of ideas in the air, string some loose (very loose) connection between him and the product and that makes it ok to permit a ram to tell a “your mom” joke on your packaging. You read that correctly. You’ll have to buy a pack to find out the punch line. (Spoiler alert! It’s your mom.)
Rating: ooo (three gumballs)