Deconstructing the White Rabbit wrapper

Imagethief has rather a sweet tooth. Hence my long acquaintance with the gym and the pleasures of the long run. One of China’s under-appreciated pleasures is the enamel-stripping joy of a chewy White Rabbit Milk Candy. I’m not the first to be smitten, as aquick Googling will reveal. White Rabbit even has a Wikipedia entry.

My friends are aware of my habit for the Rabbit. At a recent birthday party celebrating my 40th I received a bag containing three packages of M&Ms (which I also like), a jar of homemade peanut butter (he uses nutmeg and brown sugar – it’s really nice) and forty pieces of White Rabbit. It was a great present. I’ve been munching White Rabbit happily at work all week.

During a lull brought on by sugar-induced bliss I had a chance to study the White Rabbit wrapper (If you want to sound like Elmer Fudd say that five times fast). It’s pretty weird:


First, note the crazy Art Deco font in both black and red. Then there is not one but three different kinds of rabbits on the wrapper. The central rabbit doesn’t even look like a rabbit so much as it looks like an albino lemon that has sprouted a rabbit head. For reasons known only to the creators this bizarre, lumpy rabbit is seated in front of a painter’s palette with dabs of blue and red paint. The rabbit is apparently engaged in an almighty sneeze. Or perhaps those are albino lemon rabbit whiskers. Who knows?

At the margins are rows of zombie rabbits facing each other in mirror image. They appear to be covered with grotesque lumps, like enormous, swollen zombie rabbit teats. They also have rather spooky eyes.

Finally there are two renderings of a somewhat more contemporary rabbit that is leaping in front of what looks like an enormous mushroom that is either conspicuously magic or conspicuously toxic. Company information in Chinese and English fills the rest of the space.

I think this is a masterpiece of psychedelic candy packaging design, right up there withLemonhead, Pixie Stix and Bazooka bubble gum. Looking at the wrapper now –there are three on my desk– I can taste milky sweetness and hear Jefferson Airplane thundering through my head. There is almost nothing in this design to suggest that what lies within is edible, and yet like a sugary prostitute it screams unwrap me and put me in your mouth!

There are messages within messages within messages in this candy wrapper. I want an A2 size print that I can hang right next to my enormous “Dark Side of the Moon” poster. Then I can gaze at them both while I eat White Rabbit and listen to “Dark Side” through my headphones. If that isn’t a ticket to an alternate universe I don’t know what is. Pixie Stix, perhaps.

Note: Image stolen from Speks International as I was too lazy to scan it myself. A larger image of an apparently older version is here.

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