Hershey's May Have Forsaken Whatchamacallit, But This Commercial Brings It Alive

November  9, 2016

Hello. I have some news. There’s apparently a candy bar manufactured by Hershey's called Whatchamacallit. Did you know this? Hershey's began manufacturing this chocolate bar, initially constructed of peanut butter and chocolate, on December 8, 1978. I'd never heard of it until roughly two months ago. “It’s not your everyday candy bar,” the Hershey Company site argues. Uh, yeah—that’s because I’ve never seen it in my “everyday” life, which involves frequenting grocery and convenience stores. This potentially fictive candy bar must be discontinued, its webpage merely a relic of a bygone era, left over due to the sloth of the Hershey Company's site manager. Right?

Am I crazy to believe that this chocolate bar no longer exists? No; type in “Whatchamacallit” into Google and a suggested search term is “whatchamacallit candy bar discontinued.” There is a great swath of the American netizenry who seems to agree with my suspicion that yes, Whatchamacallit has been discontinued.

See? I’m not lying. I’m right.

It has not. The Whatchamacallit is still alive. Here it is, on Amazon; take a gander at this Walmart listing. Nice to see you on Walgreens. It isn’t out of stock; it’s right there.

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Hm. “Whatchamacallit.” What a name. The rascal who devised this moniker was a woman named Patricia Volk. Patty over here was tasked with the Hershey “account” as Associate Creative Director at ad agency Doyle Dane & Bernbach circa the late 1970s. "I did get credit for inventing the name "Whatchamacallit" for a new candy bar," she wrote in 2001's Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family after she’d been stiffed for credit for devising the names of Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses. Not crediting women for their work is bad.

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Top Comment:
“I bought a whatchamacallit the other day, really only because I wanted offer some sort of thanks to the people who made that commercial. Sadly the candy bar is pretty mediocre. Maybe the Whozeewhatzit will be better 😁”
— Adrienne

But the most recent commercial for the Whatchamacallit is good, so much that it warrants) a glowing mention on the candy’s Wikipedia page. That’s when you know we’re talking business. It wasn't always this way; upon Whatchamacallit's entry into American markets, Hershey's attempted to advertise it through deploying itinerant truckers, a camping couple, and quarreling boys in a baseball dugout. Uh, yeah, snooze. I first saw these commercials in September, and I wanted someone to "wake me up when September ends." These were plainly uninvolving commercials; one might glean from them that Whatchamacallit took its “sweet” time (ha, get it) to hit its stride before 1985, when Hershey’s unleashed the following upon us:

Wow. I know what you’re thinking. This commercial is good as hell.

Broken down, the ingredients suggest an outcome that's insufferable: a jingle that’s a few notes shy of being a dimestore “Funky Town” cover, a line-drawn aesthetic cribbed from a decaying issue of Highlights magazine, the milquetoast singing voice of a woman who sounds like an amnesiac. But it’s all rather humorous—notice how the singer seems to gently rib at our perceived stupidity, acknowledging that the very name of this chocolate bar may confuse us. She suggests alternatives (Gobbledeygook?) before a chorus of sirens reminds us that it is called Whatchamacallit. Amazing. In concert, these antagonistic aesthetic elements come together, creating a commercial is so calming that it almost negates the bar's abundance of such ingredients as corn syrup solids and vanillin. (Yum!)

Actually, let’s talk about the ingredients. In 1978, the candy began, as I said earlier (were you listening?), as a simple, appropriately dressed bar of crispy peanut butter topped with chocolate. All good, right? False—in 1987, Hershey’s decided to “tinker” with the formula, adding some caramel. Why? I don’t know. It was around this same time when Hershey's became sheepish about broadcasting the fact that it offered Whatchamacallit in its canon at all, lessening the rotation of advertising for the product on television. I contacted Hershey inquiring as to why they changed the formula, along with a demand for answers as to why they've begun to disown this product as if it were the family's felon child. They haven’t answered as of publication. (In 2009, they even offered a sister to the Whatchamacallit in the form of the “Thingamajig,” composed of chocolate, cocoa crisps, and peanut butter. Uhhh, yeah, nice try Hershey. Heard it wasn’t too hot.)

In spite of my longstanding affection for these thirty seconds of animation and song, I’ve never said this particular collection of syllables, "Whatchamacallit," until yesterday, when I was forced to ask my coworkers about whether they’ve heard about this candy bar. I assumed they, like me, hadn’t known of its existence thus prior. Well…I surveyed my colleagues and, preferring to minimize human contact, did so through messaging application Slack. Here's what I found:

Incredible. Looks like I'm wrong.

Did you know that Whatchamacallit was still alive? Have you had it? Please let me know in the comments.

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.


Nicole W. March 24, 2021
I LOVE Whatchamacallit! It's been a favorite of mine since I can remember. Try it, you'll love it. 😉
Adrienne February 1, 2021
I was obsessed with this commercial from the first time I saw it. I genuinely love the song and still sing it sometimes. I bought a whatchamacallit the other day, really only because I wanted offer some sort of thanks to the people who made that commercial. Sadly the candy bar is pretty mediocre. Maybe the Whozeewhatzit will be better 😁
Colin R. October 20, 2020
That jingle really was something. I awoke from a fever dream(not really, quarantine!) With,"hows it go?"; in my head at 4am, I needed to hear the whole commercial.
Adrienne February 1, 2021
It will do that to you 😄
JB J. March 19, 2018
how the hell have you not tried this? its like if kit-kat and snickers had a baby. a delicious baby.
Moshee November 10, 2016
Was my fave in elementary school from like 2nd-4th grades, maybe even 5th.
Kaite November 9, 2016
It is my favorite candy bar! They have them in the vending machine in my office. :)
Connie November 9, 2016
my husband and i were just talking about our favorite candy bars, what we would have loved our halloween buckets to be filled with, and whatchamacallit is my #1 hands down!!! i haven't had one in years sadly...
Holly S. November 9, 2016
I love whachamacallit!!! one of my all time favorite candy bars, in fact, bouchon bakery has their own version of it shaped like a ring ding. My only gripe with hershey is that they do not have mini sized bars for Halloween :(
Jessica H. November 9, 2016
The Whatchamacallit is alive and well in Northern California. It's sort of like a giant 100 Grand but with peanut butter. It's been around since the 80's and never went away as far as I know.
Moshee November 10, 2016
100 Grands are my other favorites!!
mary-ellen November 9, 2016
I have totally heard of this candy bar and even have bought and eaten one.
I used to work for a man who used to use the phrase WHATCHAMACALLIT all the time. It would drive me and all my co-workers crazy. While shopping for a snickers bar, I saw the WHATCHAMACALLIT bar. I had to share it with my co-workers while we ate it and made fun of our boss! This was in NJ in the early 2000's.
Rachel November 9, 2016
I loved whatchamacallits! (mainly because of that amazing 80's commercial)