I first became aware of the “Jar Jar Sticky Tongue” in the afterglow of The Phantom Menace phenomenon of 1999—it was exotic because it was only available in the UK, and so I quickly bought one online. The JJB Sticky Tongue was exactly what you see in the picture above (which makes it look even creepier than it does in person): a plastic Jar Jar head with a long, sticky rubbery tongue—the same genetic material as a Wacky Wallcrawler. The idea is that you fling it while holding on to the head, and the tongue will grab papers or other light items (bugs? pet hair? dust?). The Jar Jar Sticky Tongue is solely responsible for the laziness of an entire generation of British youth, who could no longer be bothered to grab that empty crisps packet they dropped on the pavement of Carnaby Street—why bother when good ol’ Jar Jar and his sticky tongue will do all the work for you, right, guv’nuh??
The JJB Sticky Tongue was the common prize in a TPM tie-in promotional contest for Walkers, the PepsiCo-owned snack company that’s kind of a British counterpart to Frito-Lay. What blows my mind is that there were “100 Million Jar Jar Sticky Tongues to be won!”—because the 2001 population of the entire UK was only 58million!! That’s almost 2 JJB sticky tongues for every person!! I can only imagine the vast warehouse that still holds tens of millions of these things. What a wonderful place it must be!
There were two different styles of Sticky Tongue: the sunburned orange-ish one, and a glow-in-the-dark model:
The back of the package offered a couple of lamely black-and-white line-art sand frogs for Jar Jar to snatch with his tongue:
I like how the “Mesa doen nutten!” just appears at the end of that blurb like an insane non sequitur—did Jar Jar himself write this??? I get the context, but I’d love to see some proper British granny sending away for one of these for her grandkids, reading that, and having a Gunganese-induced mental breakdown. Even though I have a few of these, I’ve never opened one—despite their “care instructions”, you know and I know that once the tongue gets dirty, cleaning it won’t help…there’s no going back. Maybe I’ll buy another one to open this summer (they’re perpetually available pretty cheap on eBay) and do some experiments with it…
Though this isn’t every Walkers’ wrapper associated with the Sticky Tongue, here are the ones I’ve got:
Here’s an in-store promotional “shelf-talker” display promoting the TPM contest:
Another way for Binks-crazed Britons to get the JJB Sticky Tongue in 1999 was as a “gift with purchase” of the decades-old kids comic, The Beano:
That sinister SOB using the Jar Jar Sticky Tongue to retrieve his brain-damaged spider is Dennis the Menace —not to be confused with Dennis the Menace! UK Dennis and his bloodthirsty dog or wolf or whatever he is, Gnasher, are like a kiddy Clockwork Orange. Gnasher is described as being “so tough” that he “feels no pain”. Gnasher is obviously an abuser of PCP. The Beano even manages to weave the JJB sticky tongue into one of Dennis and Gnasher’s sociopathic adventures:
(click on pic for larger image!)
My God, WTF did Gnasher do to that poor cat?!?!?
(click for larger)
Deranged. Here’s an advertisement from later in the comic—not as transgressive as Dennis and Gnasher, but it has an almost offensively condescending view of its readers:
If you live in the UK and know exactly where this warehouse teeming with millions of unclaimed Jar Jar Sticky Tongues is located, PLEASE contact me. I don’t know why!
Jar Jar Prototypes ?