Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hershey’s Whatchamacallit & Thingamajig

Hershey's Thingamajig & WhatchamacallitHershey’s Whatchamacallit was introduced in 1978. I remember the launch, the commercials and buying the candy bar quite a bit in the first few years when it came out.

It was a peanut butter & crisped rice bar covered in milk chocolate. It was simple, crunchy, looked really big and was satisfying.

Hershey’s has never seemed particularly proud or supportive of the Whatchamacallit. Their advertising for it waned after the eighties; maybe they wanted to go out on a bang with this classic commercial:

The Hershey’s website lists only four notable moments in Whatchamacallit history: introduction (1978), reformulation (1987), package redesign & king size release (2002). You can see the earlier, less “blasty” package design on Brad Kent’s wrapper archive and Mike’s Candy Wrappers (2002 & 2003)

The page mentions nothing about the second reformulation where the bar lost its milk chocolate and gained its rich chocolatey coating (circa 2006).

ThingamajigSo you can imagine how surprised I was to see that the Whatchamacallit earned a Limited Edition version, called Thingamajig.

This bar is made with chocolate, cocoa crisps and peanut butter. At first glance it sounds like it might be the original Whatchamacallit, the one without the caramel (well, that also had real chocolate).

Instead it’s a block of cocoa flavored crisped rice covered with a strip of peanut butter and then covered in Hershey’s inimitable imitation chocolate.

As with many limited edition products, this bar is slightly smaller than the original. It’s 1.5 ounces versus the 1.6 ounces of the Whatchamacallit.

Whatchamacallit & Thingamajig

Whatchamacallit on the left and Thingamajig on the right

It’s hard to review the Thingamajig in a vacuum, so naturally I’m comparing it to the Whatchamacallit. I’m also prone to wondering if, when Hershey’s was developing the Whatchamacallit, that they didn’t go through this bar as part of the evolution of the new product, obviously rejecting it.

The Thingamajig has a nice cocoa scent along with a whiff or roasted peanuts. It’s not quite a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup smell, but pretty close.

The bit into the bar is a quick snap, biting through the cocoa crispies is easy, they’re crunchy but have plenty of give since they don’t seem to be held together by marshmallow or peanut butter like the Whatchamacallit.

The mockolate coating is rather good ... I have to give Hershey’s credit, their fake chocolate can often be better than some other companies’ real chocolate. The cocoa flavors from the crispy center probably help.

The peanut butter is a bit salty, creamy and smooth (smoother than a peanut butter cup center).

Overall, it’s a nice experience ... probably not something I’d want again. I’m not sure why Hershey’s did it, but they’re not really taking any credit for it (they never emailed me about it, it doesn’t appear on their website) and it will probably disappear without any fanfare as well.

Rating: 6 out of 10

As a little side note, since I’ve never done an official review of the Whatchamacallit (which by now I’m rather dreading typing), I thought I’d add that here:

The bar smells like cocoa and toffee. The peanut butter crisped rice center is great. It’s buttery, salty, crunchy and has a good roasted nut flavor and a strong butter/dairy note to it. The caramel, though only a very thin layer, gives it a bit of a chew that holds it together in the mouth. The mockolate coating is creamy and melts well but offers no chocolate flavors here ... just a sealant for the crispy bar.

Rating: 6 out of 10

But most of all, I have to wonder why the Whatchamacallit isn’t a Reese’s branded product, getting the full benefit of the peanut butter branding.

I was really late in finding these bars in my area. Here are some other opinions on them: AV Club Taste Test (also a head to head), Cocoa-Heaven (head to head) and Candy Yum Yum.

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  5. 100 Grand with Peanuts
  6. Snickers Cruncher
Name: Thingamajig & Whatchamacallit
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $.89
Size: 1.5 ounces & 1.6 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147 & 138
Categories: Mockolate, Peanuts, Caramel, Cookie, United States, Hershey's, Kosher, Limited Edition

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:44 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. I believe the Thingamajig was special to Walgreens. It was the suggestive selling item, the product most cashiers are forced to push on you at the register, for the month of March. It was just a special promotion, and wasn’t added to the basic candy department.

    Comment by Plushie Banjo on 4/16/09 at 3:58 pm #
  2. I’ve seen these bars in stores before, but I’ve always been hesitant to buy them. The name is sort of intimidating to me. But thanks to your review, it looks like these should be worth a try!

    Comment by Emmy on 4/16/09 at 3:59 pm #
  3. I’ve never seen that commercial before. The Whatchamacallit commercial I remember and was expecting to see featured some kids playing baseball. They’re sitting in the dugout and one kid says something like “Hey, that looks good. What’s it called?” And the other kid says “Whatchamacallit.” Then the first guy is confused like Costello in the “Who’s on First” sketch.

    I do enjoy Whatchamacallit but it is slightly poorer with the mockolate, I think.

    Comment by bitguru on 4/16/09 at 4:45 pm #
  4. gracecarriveau's avatar

    I also found these at Hy-vee last week. I have fallen in love with this bar. For some reason, I find them highly addictive. I think I’ve probably eaten around a dozen or so in the last week. It’s a good thing I wasn’t able to eat a whole lot of other food as well or I would have gained at least ten pounds!

    Comment by gracecarriveau on 4/16/09 at 7:06 pm #
  5. I love Whatchamacallits! (even though I know they are not necessarily the best chocolate or peanut butter bar around.) I think I love them so much is because when I was little and would watch my brother in high school plays, during intermission, I would always buy a Whatchamacallit and lemonade… although now I think that combo sounds gross. I still love Whatchamacallits, heheh

    Comment by Steph (I am Bee) on 4/17/09 at 4:18 am #
  6. You can find Thingamajig’s at CVS as well. There’s a special display sitting on top of the counter where the registers are. One side has Whatchamacallits, the other Thingamajigs. Hershey’s website has a store finder but when I searched the only result that came up was Walgreens, despite the CVS having them that’s only two blocks from where I live. Whats also strange is that they aren’t promoting the comeback of Thingamajig (it originally came out in 1978) on their website. I like it enough that I think they should make it a permanent product. It has its advantages, the biggest being there’s no caramel, which takes away any chewing difficulty when eating it.

    Comment by justduet on 4/17/09 at 9:45 am #
  7. I found one today at the grocery store. I bought one and also a Watchamacallit to compare. I actually like the Thingamajig better. I also have to admit that the “chocolatey” coating wasn’t too bad, at least it didn’t crumble apart like so many others do.

    Comment by Carol on 4/19/09 at 10:28 am #
  8. I LOVED the original whatchamacallit! My fond memory of it was it being sold at the snack bar of the pool I would go to. They would sell it FROZEN! OMG, it was GREAT frozen! Then hershey had to ruin it with caramel. I love caramel, but not on a whatchacallit. I still buy it every once in a while to eat it. I normally eat the caramel off the top then eat the rest of the bar to give me the closest resemblance to what I remembered growing up. I have let my 4 year old daughter try it too and she loves it. But I stopped buying it as often and dont give it to her anymore because of the amount of HFCS in it. I dont have a wrapper in front of me but its like the first or second ingredient. I have NEVER seen HFCS listed as high a prominence in candy ingredients before!

    Comment by Jeff Talbert on 4/22/09 at 10:23 am #
  9. Cybele's avatar

    Jeff - I do have the wrapper in front of me and thought I’d transcribe it here. I don’t normally worry about HFCS in candy because it’s rarely used.

    Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, crisp rice, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially defatted peanuts, vegetable oil, nonfat milk, chocolate, reduced minerals whey, whey, contains less than 2%  of: partially hydrogenated coconut oil, butter, sal, milkfat, mono & di-glycerides, soy lecithin, barley malt, molasses, PGPR, distilled monoglycerides, vanillin and disodium phosphate.

    There are plenty of other “wholesome” candy bars out there with all natural ingredients that will satisfy even picky children.

    The Thingamajig does not have HFCS or quite the proportion of hydrogenated oils. Though still the same number of calories.

    Comment by Cybele on 4/22/09 at 10:30 am #
  10. I’m a fan of Whachamacallits, of course, but I LOVE the new one, Thingamajigs! They’re my favorite candy bar as of now!

    Comment by Annie on 4/26/09 at 4:35 pm #
  11. The Thingamajig actually is made with real chocolate. On the wrapper it says “Made With Chocolate” and it actually has to be for a company to claim it on the wrapper. Otherwise it’ll say “Chocolatey” or “Chocolate-Flavored” which means its fake chocolate.
    source at 4th paragraph=
    http://www.avclub.com/articles/taste-test-thingamajig-vs-whatchamacallit,24288/

    Comment by PIps on 4/28/09 at 11:16 am #
  12. Cybele's avatar

    Plps - yes, this is true that it says “made with chocolate” but that does not mean that it is c"overed in chocolate.” It just means that somewhere along the way, someone threw some chocolate in. Any time additional vegetable oils are added to chocolate, it ceases to be chocolate under the FDA Standards of Identity.

    Believe me, if it was really chocolate covered it’d say it.

    I do believe, though, that the real chocolate content makes the coating much more palatable than, say, the coating Nestle puts on the Butterfinger.

    Comment by Cybele on 4/28/09 at 11:23 am #
  13. I was a fan of the original Whatchamacallit, without caramel, but after they changed it I didn’t think it tasted as good.  My wife is now a big fan of the Thingamajig but I only saw them at Walgreens for about two weeks and can no longer find them.  We don’t have CVS or Hy-Vee in our area so if anyone knows where they could be purchased online I would appreciate a note.  You can send the info to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
    Thanks.

    Comment by Phred on 5/03/09 at 9:32 am #
  14. It sounds like the Bar None, remember- it tamed the chocolate beastie?

    Comment by wendy on 5/07/09 at 3:04 pm #
  15. That is really an… interesting name for chocolate. I didn’t watch the commercial, this is a super slow computer. Though I can imagine it. It would probably be funny.

    I have a question for you. Did you actually TRY all of these chocolates, or did you take rates from otehr people?

    How long have you been doing this?

    Comment by Anonymus on 5/19/09 at 9:26 am #
  16. Cybele's avatar

    Anonymous - I try everything I review. What kind of fraud reviews something they haven’t even eaten? All the photos are original (a kind of proof of what it was that I ate). Though every once in a while I’ll post less-than-in-depth product roundups & lists of things I’ve seen but haven’t reviewed.

    I’ve been writing this blog for 4 years and have reviewed over 1,000 products.

    Comment by Cybele on 5/19/09 at 9:35 am #
  17. I believe that since the watchamacallit was the forgotten third child of the Hershey empire that they brought this Thingamajig on the market as a taste test challenge (which is how I seen it set up in displays) and they made it inferior to the watchamacallit to make you think you really like the watchamacallit.  Now, turns out, the Thingamajig was actually good and to some better, so now again they take away something we like.  Like the Bar none.  Ooh that was good.

    Comment by Tym on 4/06/10 at 6:47 am #
  18. its better then whatchamacalit

    Comment by curtis on 9/23/10 at 1:41 pm #
  19. they should ceep the thinamajig

    Comment by curtis on 9/23/10 at 1:44 pm #
  20. Thingamajig is the best candy bar I’ve had in a really long time, I love them. I will be very sad to see them go and wish that Hershey would keep them around. love them love them love them!!

    Comment by Brenda on 10/07/10 at 2:55 pm #
  21. whatchamacallits r so good i love them

    Comment by kimi on 10/12/10 at 10:24 am #
  22. The Whatchamacallit is the best candy bar/ candy ever! I had never heard of it until I started to look for a Halloween costume. I wanted to be a candy so I looked for some candy online to see which one I wanted to be. Some site said “Whatchamacallit bar” so I looked it up. Then I got my mom to drive me the nearest gas station and got one. I tasted it and insently I had a new favorite candy. Sadly, no one that I know gives them out on Halloween. Now I really want to try the “Thingamajig”!! (never heard of it) If one of these candys leaves the market, I will be VERY, VERY upset! smile smile smile smile smile smile smile

    Comment by Harper on 10/27/10 at 7:09 pm #
  23. I found these at Wal-Mart in Lake Jackson, Texas.
    Had to buy 10 to get my fix smile
    I <3 Thingamajigs

    Comment by Downtown on 11/24/10 at 12:13 am #
  24. I just bought a Thingamajig at Wal-Mart. First time I’d ever seen/heard of it. I grew up on Whatchamacallit’s, and of these 2 candy bars, that’s the one I prefer. The Thingamajig filled an afternoon sugar craving, but I don’t think I’d buy it again.

    Comment by Layla on 4/25/11 at 11:45 am #
  25. Hey everyone…ok…I have never posted to a candy forum before but I saw the Thingamajig once in a store and have kicked myself in the butt ever since for not trying them out.  I see a post from April of 2011 where Layla said she bought them at Walmart.  Are they still selling these “things”?  Where the heck can I find them in Colorado?  Does anyone have a stockpile where they might consider selling me a couple?

    Ok…that is all.  Have a great day.

    Danny

    Comment by Daniel Reagan on 7/08/11 at 11:41 am #
  26. Danny—Hershey has a website for locating hard-to-find products. It seems the Thingamajig is available in the Denver area. Check out where you live.

    http://www.thehersheycompany.com/contact-us/locate-hard-to-find-products.aspx

    Comment by Dee on 9/18/11 at 3:15 pm #
  27. I love the Whatchamacallot, and I’ve only ever eaten the kind with caramel. I love it, and it is one of my Top Five candy bars. I love the Zero, as my number one, and I also dig the Thousand Grand as well as things like that. Tonight we stopped to get groceries @Walmart and found a Thingamajig and it was tasty but it doesn’t hold up to other candy are.

    Comment by Elvenbeads on 11/25/12 at 6:09 pm #
  28. I remember when it did not have caramel too and I agree, it was the best without it. I think Caramel on a chocolate/rice crisp candy is a little odd. I remember the pool I was a member of would keep them in the freezer and they were the best frozen. the one with caramel is okay frozen too, its the only way I can eat it now.

    Somtimes I wonder what Mr Hershey, or Mr Nestle would think about what the current owners are doing by putting out candy with mochlate. If they knew they could save money by using vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter, would they have done it? I have a hard time thinking they would.

    Comment by Jeff Talbert on 11/25/12 at 6:27 pm #
  29. Also I believe this blog is ridiculous because if the person who wrote it really knew about candy they’d know Reese’s is produced from the Hershey company.

    Comment by Jasmyn on 3/17/13 at 6:38 pm #
  30. Cybele's avatar

    Jasmyn, nowhere in this review did I say that Reese’s wasn’t a Hershey’s company.

    My point is that Hershey’s owns many brands, and each is known for their particular confections. Twizzlers for their red twists, Peter Paul for their coconut bars and Reese’s for peanut butter.

    Whatchamacallit would be better served under the orange wrapper and branding of Reese’s, in my opinion.

    Comment by Cybele on 3/17/13 at 6:53 pm #
  31. I named the Whatchamacallit candy bar, but unfortunately I can not prove that… but here is my story.  I was working a store that sold Hershey’s products.  One day the sales person came in and off the cuff asked me if I were to name a candy bar, what would I call it.  I had just been joking with a customer about going into a hardware store and asking for a “Whatchamacallit” because I could not remember the name of a tool – so I told him a “Whatchamacallit” and gave my reasons.  A while later he came in and told me they were test marketing my candy bar in a certain area and if it did well they would market it.  It was not long before he came in and presented me with a case of candy bars to which he proclaimed “Congratulations, here is your candy bar.”  I have contacted Hershey’s with dates and places just to confirm my story – nothing more… but they wrote me back and said they had no idea of where the name came from.  I always had figured it was a contest with the sales reps where they would submit a name and my rep just happened to like what I had said.  This is my story – I so wish I could prove it… but I have no doubt that I was responsible for the name.  Any Suggestions????

    Comment by unacknowledged on 5/01/13 at 12:17 pm #
  32. To the above “unacknowledged” poster:

    You need to contact Patricia Volk, author of “Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family.” She claims to have come up with the “Whatchamacallit” name. Here is an except from her book:

    “Once, when we rented a movie, she (Patricia’s sister) bought a bag of Hershey’s Hugs. I told her not to buy anything Hershey, because when I’d done the advertising for the company, I’d invented the name Hershey’s Hugs for a candy to be sold alongside Hershey’s Kisses — Hugs and Kisses — and I never got credit for it. I did get credit for inventing the name ‘Whatchamacallit’ for a new candy bar. ‘Hershey’s Whatchamacallit. You can ask for it by name,’ the logo line went. It was my major contribution in eighteen years of advertising.”

    However, Wikipedia claims that “the Whatchamacallit name was devised by Harrison F. Limpert while doing advertising for Hershey.” But here’s what’s curious: The reference for that particular item on Wikipedia is given as Patricia Volk’s book, “Stuffed,” although NOWHERE in the book is Limpert’s name mentioned. In fact, Patricia Volk claims SHE invented the name!

    Again, I suggest you contact Patricia Volk to resolve these differences. She lives in New York and can probably be reached through her publisher, Knopf, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Comment by Dee on 7/02/13 at 9:52 am #
  33. Thank you so much. I was beginning to think I was going mad. None of my friends remember the original watchamacallit candy bar. It was one of my favorites. And I can’t imagine what I wouldn’t do for one now.
    Sincerely,
    Nostalgic guy

    Comment by JAMAL on 7/20/13 at 4:09 pm #

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