Fig Newtons have always gone a little against the grain when it comes to the cookie standard — figs aren’t exactly the first thing that pops into mind when it’s 2 a.m. and you’re on the prowl for a snack.
Perhaps that’s why Nabisco has decided to drop the “fig” from the brand’s name and call it just Newtons. The cookie, which has been around since 1891, does feature a variety of non-fig flavors such as a strawberry and raspberry, so the change may have just occurred to appear more inclusive. But the New York Times reports that the name change is a part of the brand’s attempt to appear more trendy after years of declining sales. On the Richter scale of hip fruits, from goji berries to antioxidant-filled pomegranates, figs fall somewhere near laxative-y prunes. The new advertising plan features commercials intended to highlight Newtons’ other fruit flavors. Aimed at baby boomers, the commercials are also intended to be more cerebral.
“For people who loved us there was heritage there, and they had eaten them most of their lives,” Tara Rutan, the brand manager for Newtons, told the Times. “But the opposite was true with the people that didn’t love us — they knew the brand as Fig Newtons, but they really disliked figs.”
But the new makeover doesn’t sit well with longtime fans, particularly Goosebumps author R.L. Stine:
Stine really does make a point. If Fig Newton didn’t sound appetizing, “Newtons” just reminds of us of our dear friend Isaac and our 7thgrade science class. Not exactly the hip, new look Nabisco was going for. But maybe someday we’ll get used to the phrase “hey, pass the Newtons!” Just after we wrap our head around the term “fruit cookie.”