I'm sure the folks at Hershey's thought they had a great idea when they decided to market their Ice Breakers breath mints in small clear blue or orange packets that melt in your mouth, giving a burst of flavor as the packet dissolves.
Bad Idea, it turns out.
MSNBC reports that police in Philadelphia are having a problem with the packaging, because the packets look very much like heat-sealed plastic packets that cocaine is often sold in. Police fear a child who knows the Ice Breakers come in those little blue or orange packets could mistakenly swallow a bag of coke.
A Philly Police Inspector told the Philadelphia Daily News that the packaging glorifies the drug trade. A spokesman for Hershey's responded with, "It is not intended to simulate anything."
I believe the Hershey's people on this. I don't think they would intentionally try to market a product by making it look like a dangerous drug. But by defending the packaging without taking further action, they may do themselves -- and some young children -- real harm.
Having been warned about the possibility of child making a horrible mistake and swallowing a bag of cocaine, possibly with lethal results, why would this family-oriented company wait until such a tragedy occurs?
Hershey's should take the initiative and recall the packaging that's now out there, and quickly get the product out in another form that cannot be mistaken for a drug. Then they'll turn a Bad Idea into a good one that can make them lots of money for many years to come, without harming any kids or the company's reputation.