"'Curious strength' drives every aspect of the campaign."
August 21, 2002 10:22 AM   Subscribe

"'Curious strength' drives every aspect of the campaign." Introduced to the US in 1918, Altoids (Flash) have existed since the reign of George III, and were marketed as a digestive aid for over a century; shortly after their US debut, they were even billed as "an antidote to poisons in the stomach". Today they hold a distinctive place within their industry, with quirky ads and a reputation as being The Mint to Beat. Their tins are tricked out by craftsy types, their history is catalogued (and sometimes embellished), and they have had shrines built in their honor; not to mention their alleged bedroom merits, which are widely accepted despite Snopes' few words on the subject.

BTW: the new Tangerine Sours rock, IMHO, but Cinnamon is thought by some to be Evil...
posted by atavistech (32 comments total)
empty altoid containers are also quite handy as stash tins.
posted by sid at 10:27 AM on August 21, 2002

You can put your weed in there!
posted by dangerman at 10:40 AM on August 21, 2002

Thanks for the clarification.
posted by agregoli at 10:42 AM on August 21, 2002

[This is a good post]
posted by Shadowkeeper at 10:42 AM on August 21, 2002

I'm a dork, so I put a headphone amplifier into an empty Altoids tin. Here's a picture of one (mine is peppermint.)

It really sounds fantastic, too.
posted by zsazsa at 10:44 AM on August 21, 2002

Altoids are rawkin' but they sadly can't hold a candle to Hoof Mints.

(I am rather enamoured of the Altoids Tangerine Sours though. yum yum.)
posted by sigma7 at 10:48 AM on August 21, 2002

Altoids™ are good.
Go out and buy Altoids™
This is only a test. If this had been an actual advert, you would have been instructed as to where in your neighborhood you may purchase Altoids™

posted by FreezBoy at 10:55 AM on August 21, 2002

i used to be an altoid man, but i have to say, i've turned to ice breakers. wintergreen. that's good stuff. also really low-calorie and low-carb food (or so the packaging says). i end up eating something like 8 or 9 mints a day.
posted by moz at 10:55 AM on August 21, 2002

I like to carry a spare box of Cinnamon Altoids with me wherever I go; it's the best remedy I've found for bad coffee. Drop one or two in and stir until dissolved. Do not try this with any flavor other than Cinnamon.
posted by Acetylene at 10:56 AM on August 21, 2002

One thing I hate about my slowly creeping vegetarianism is no more Altoids (hint:hooves).

Thank goodness for Penguins!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:58 AM on August 21, 2002

PinkStainlessTail - I know a bunch of vegetarians, (including myself) who are quite strict when it comes to other meat products but ignore gelatin. Beef bones are a by-product of the meat industry, and are so cheap that very few companies will substitute a vegetarian-friendly gelatin in their products. Indeed, a lot of beef bones are simply discarded because the supply is so huge. Gelatin is in pretty much everything including film. We figure that avoiding gelatin does nothing to ease the suffering of animals, which is why most of us do the whole vegetarian thing.
posted by sid at 11:08 AM on August 21, 2002

And Penguin mints have CAFFEINE!!!!
posted by agregoli at 11:09 AM on August 21, 2002

Altoids aren't kosher because the contain gelatin, which bumbs me out, because I liked them and their boxes. Oh well...
posted by ParisParamus at 11:20 AM on August 21, 2002

We figure that avoiding gelatin does nothing to ease the suffering of animals, which is why most of us do the whole vegetarian thing.
posted by sid at 11:08 AM PST on August 21

True, but I've gotten to the point where I have a bit of a visceral thing about consuming dead mammal bits (still happily eat birds and fish tho', so no moral high ground here)
(and leather shoes: I'm really bad at this, actually)
(it's mainly a solidarity with th' wife thing for me, I guess).

Also, as Agregoli points out, Penguins feed the monkey.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:22 AM on August 21, 2002

zsazsa: That is awesome. Remind me to call you when I finally decide to rackmount all my old guitar footpedals...
posted by atavistech at 11:44 AM on August 21, 2002

This is why Penguins rock. I support any company endeavoring to combine chocolate with mint and added caffeine! Whee!
posted by catfood at 12:07 PM on August 21, 2002

This, however is kinda stoopid. Or hilarious. Or pomo. Or something.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:12 PM on August 21, 2002

Despite my endless coffee drinking, those Penguins made my heart pound and gave me the cold sweats--sort of like the time in college when Vivarin gave me a nosebleed. Still, they were tasty.
posted by fred_ashmore at 12:24 PM on August 21, 2002

After years of avoiding Altoids due to the gelatin (which also comes from rendered skin), I ate one out of courtesy/mercy to my companions when there were no practical alternatives.

Kinda pasty. Kinda gummy. Certainly no reason to drop Starbuck's After-Coffee mints, the only thing I regularly buy from Starbucks.
posted by NortonDC at 12:27 PM on August 21, 2002

re: the snopes article
has anyone noticed the little symbol that appears on some versions of the altoids tin?

Look closely; it's hard to see in that picture (the best I could find) but it looks like a yin-yang, only with 2 faces instead of swirls. Catch my drift? Nudge-Nudge, Wink-Wink!

Anyone have a better pic?
posted by krunk at 12:46 PM on August 21, 2002

Did you know that if you take homeopathic medicines, mints will kill the homeopathic affect? So will caffeine. So essentially Penguins are an antidote to homeopathic poisoning, thus saving you from death by tiny, tiny amounts of whatever.
posted by pomegranate at 12:48 PM on August 21, 2002

Altoids leave all that nasty white powder lying around.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:12 PM on August 21, 2002

I know some people who fit that description...
posted by atavistech at 1:16 PM on August 21, 2002

Altoids tins are great for storing a mini sewing kit for extended camping trips. You can also make emergency candles in them for no mess, portable light.
posted by Modgoddess at 1:32 PM on August 21, 2002

zsazsa, I love you. I'm a superdork, so I can't figure out exactly how you made it. Damn, i'm just gonna go ask ya right now!

Just a reminder folks: Altoids ain't veg. Not like I care but I've heard that some people do.
posted by DenOfSizer at 1:48 PM on August 21, 2002

atavistech, DenOfSizer: my idea certainly wan't original. I was inspired by the designs on headwize.com (a fantastic place for Headphone dorks.) Some of the people there have smashed down the design for that particular amp to fit inside the casing of a spent 9V cell. It doesn't have the coolness factor of Altoids, however. Getting it down to mint-tin-size and stuffing it all in was still a pain in the rear.

A friend of mine put one in a penguin tin and I must admit it is pretty fly as well.
posted by zsazsa at 2:59 PM on August 21, 2002

Norton: Without Altoids, there wouldn't be any Starbucks mints (or any of the other quasi-luxury mints). Back in the 80s, when the craze really got started*, for a while they were the only one in the segment, which was mostly owned by normal-strength mints like Certs and Tic-Tacs.

Since then there have been quite a few added, and I agree they're all pretty much comparable -- one reason Altoids has been competing by expanding its range of flavors.

* read: national marketing began
posted by dhartung at 4:23 PM on August 21, 2002

It does too exist!
posted by emf at 5:30 PM on August 21, 2002

And it exists in solo format as well.
posted by dejah420 at 5:33 PM on August 21, 2002

NSFW, sorry.
posted by emf at 5:46 PM on August 21, 2002

Hey, I actually like the cinnamon mints! I like the texture in particular, it's ever so slightly gummy.

The Tangerine Sours rock! I invited my boss to try them, and he promptly popped two in his mouth... the expression on his face was pretty priceless :-)
posted by clevershark at 7:18 PM on August 21, 2002

I find myself feeling sad for the Altoid tin tricked by some crafty person.

The best use I have found for an empty tin is placing two packs of firecrackers and a matchbook inside. Finished off with a picture of a dynamite stick taped to the cover. It's kept it in my desk and lovingly referred to as a stress kit.

Here in the lowly places of Canada, it has only been in the past few years that Altoids have been readily available. To get cinnamon ones, we have to leave the province. And now that there are tangerine and citrus sours... well I think it might be my new quest to get my hands on some.
posted by nemesis at 7:49 PM on August 21, 2002

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