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Arthur Carlson Invitational Stupid Publicity Stunt Thread

Edgy DC
Jun 22 2005 02:53 PM

Giant Popsicle Melts, Floods New York Park

NEW YORK - An attempt to erect the world's largest Popsicle in a city square ended with a scene straight out of a disaster film but much stickier.

The 25-foot-tall, 17 1/2-ton treat of frozen Snapple juice melted faster than expected Tuesday, flooding Union Square in downtown Manhattan with kiwi-strawberry-flavored fluid that sent pedestrians scurrying for higher ground.

Firefighters closed off several streets and used hoses to wash away the sugary goo.

Snapple had been trying to promote a new line of frozen treats by setting a record for the world's largest Popsicle, but called off the stunt before it was pulled fully upright by a construction crane. Authorities said they were worried the thing would collapse in the 80-degree, first-day-of-summer heat.

"What was unsettling was that the fluid just kept coming," Stuart Claxton of the Guinness Book of World Records told the Daily News. "It was quite a lot of fluid. On a hot day like this, you have to move fast."

Snapple official Lauren Radcliffe said the company was unlikely to make a second attempt to break the record, set by a 21-foot pop in Holland in 1997.

The giant pop was supposed to have been able to withstand the heat for some time, and organizers weren't sure why it didn't. It had been made in Edison, N.J., and hauled to New York by freezer truck in the morning

Source: AP

Jun 22 2005 03:05 PM

The Sta Puff Marshmellow Man wasn't enough of a threat to New York?


Willets Point
Jun 22 2005 03:23 PM

I'm trying not to laugh, really.

At least the effects were not as bad as the Great Molasses Flood.

Jun 22 2005 03:27 PM

I'm thinking of the end of James and the Giant Peach, picturing the little children of New York attacking the menace with little popsicle sticks.

Jun 22 2005 04:52 PM

"The giant pop was supposed to have been able to withstand the heat for some time, and organizers weren't sure why it didn't."

funny... i see a picture of frozen juice sitting in an open metal box of dark color on a sunny warm day.

it doesnt look terribly refrigerated.

if it is indeed uninsulated whilst sitting in that truck, then indeed i think i may have solved the mystery.

there's a good chance they didnt consider the radiant heat supplied bythe sun, and just figured its melt-time based on a static outside temperature of whatever it was outside today.

cos the sunlight'll heat it up more quickly. so too will a warm breeze (or warm air flowing down over it as the air cooled by the pop sinks down)

or they fucked up the mixture and/or didnt properly figure its melting point, or heat transfer coefficients, etc.

am i too much of an engineer?

Jun 22 2005 06:38 PM

It maybe wasn't cold enough, either. Regular popsicle termperature wouldn't be cold enough for that sort of thing, I don't think.

Jun 22 2005 10:28 PM

Best. Thread. Title. Ever.

Willets Point
Jun 22 2005 11:06 PM

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!!!"

Jun 22 2005 11:38 PM

i wonder if they only monitored the outside temp - the inside could've been much much warmer, hastening the thaw.

Jun 22 2005 11:45 PM

from the new york times:

A Shocking Thing Happened to the Big Popsicle. It Melted.
Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Snapple hoped to set a record Tuesday with a 17-ton frozen treat, but instead, under the summer sun, it turned into a pink blob.

Published: June 22, 2005

Under the noontime sun of New York's first day of summer, Snapple, the soft drink maker, answered the question of whether a 171/2-ton Popsicle can be made to stand upright in Union Square.
Skip to next paragraph Multimedia
Video: The Streets Ran Pink With Goo

It cannot.

In a brave attempt to surpass a Guinness record - "The World's Largest Popsicle" - Snapple mixed and froze a gargantuan icy doppelganger of its new kiwi-strawberry flavored Snapple on Ice. Then the frozen treat was hauled by freezer truck from Edison, N.J., and raised with an enormous crane in Manhattan.

Alas, like James Arness in the 1951 alien thriller "The Thing From Another World," the giant Snapsicle began to melt. Soon pedestrians were fleeing in not-quite terror, fire trucks were converging and the police were closing off streets to contain the publicity stunt gone wrong.

Snapple officials first started to worry when the pink liquid began to flow onto East 17th Street. They feared cyclists and automobiles would slip in the ooze.

Ice sculpture specialists who were helping Snapple with the publicity event also wondered whether the Snapsicle was beginning to become hollow in the middle and would topple when set upright.

Snapple officials then decided to stop the Snapple-raising at a crowd-disappointing 25-degree angle. The mushy giant block was then trucked away and a television-sized ice sculpture in the shape of the Snapple logo took its place.

Maria Ortiz, 45, a cleaning worker at Sephora, a makeup and perfume store at the north end of Union Square, noticed the hubbub.

"There was a lot of pink water, pouring all the way down" onto East 17th Street, she said. Then she noticed the crane stop as it tried to lift the giant Popsicle, like a frozen flagpole.

Ms. Ortiz, of East New York, Brooklyn, said she and her co-workers were waiting for the Popsicle to go up. "But we didn't see the pop, just the pink water flowing down the street," and here she spread her hands, as if parting the Red Sea.

The Police and Fire Departments were summoned. Breaking News Network, which monitors police scanners for news organizations, sent out an alert:

"A giant Popsicle being displayed by Snapple has melted in the heat and sun and spilled all over 17th Street. F.D. on scene attempting to wash down the roadway - sticky goo all over the area."

What went wrong?

Jeanne Koivunen-Zuleta, co-owner of "Sculptures in Ice," of Zion, Ill., the ice consultant to Snapple, had one theory. "The large amount of liquid that came out," she said, "made the interior hollow, so it was a frozen shell on the outside. We didn't think that it was safe enough to erect."

Lauren Radcliffe, the Snapple official who ordered the end to the stunt, had another theory.

"It got mushy," Ms. Radcliffe said, "on the trip" from Edison, where the Snapsicle was mixed, molded and frozen. Vibrations inside the freezer truck might have changed the structure's consistency, Ms. Radcliffe said.

Whatever the case, the Snapsicle was plenty cold, she noted. The core temperature when it was prepared in New Jersey was minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, 46 degrees colder than the temperature at which an 18-percent sugar suspension, like the pop, would normally freeze. The freezer truck that transported it was cold, too, about minus 15 degrees, she said.

At any rate, if the Snapsicle had been raised upright - a condition of the Guinness World Records judges - it would have established a new record.

It was 35,000 pounds and 25 feet tall, compared with the record holder's 20,000 pounds and 21 feet.

So, Jan van den Berg and his friends from the Dutch village Katwijk aan den Rijn remain the Guinness book's champion Popsicle erectors. And they managed to do so on the business end of summer, in August 1997.

Will Snapple get off the mat and try once again, maybe in August? Ms. Radcliffe scrunched her face. "Probably not."

Jun 23 2005 09:25 AM

Best. Thread. Title. Ever.

LOL - I thought of you when I saw that.