National Survey Finds When It Comes To Creating Family Fun, It's All About The Small Surprises

Cracker Jack Brand Brings the Magic of Surprise to Families across America with the Launch of 'The Surprise Inside Project'

Jun 26, 2014, 07:00 ET from Frito-Lay North America

PLANO, Texas, June 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Who doesn't love a great surprise? Turns out, we all do, and it seems the element of surprise is the must-have ingredient to creating the most memorable family fun moments. According to a new survey commissioned by the Cracker Jack brand, nearly three-quarters of American families say the best family memories involve surprises, with nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of parents springing a surprise experience on their families as often as once a week. While the majority of parents believe they don't need to overspend when creating surprises for their loved ones, they routinely spend their hard-earned money on entertainment and other big-ticket items. Cracker Jack, the brand that has delighted families with small surprises for more than a century, is eager to lend a hand and help parents rediscover what they already know is true: there are so many creative ways to have family fun together without breaking the bank. 

The survey of 1,000 parents nationwide uncovered that 81 percent of respondents wish their families could enjoy more everyday moments together and approximately two-thirds (66 percent) don't believe they need to spend money to "wow" their family.  However, their behavior tells a different story with nearly three-quarters resorting to actually purchasing things to keep their families entertained (74 percent).  In addition, 72 percent report that they spend more than $20 when they want to surprise their loved ones.

In partnership with parenting expert Liz Gumbinner, publisher of the popular Cool Mom Picks website and author of the parenting blog Mom-101, the Cracker Jack brand today kicked off "The Surprise Inside Project" – a nationwide movement designed to help parents create those small, but meaningful surprises they know are missing in their families' lives. 

"When it comes to making things fun for your family, bigger really isn't always better," said Liz Gumbinner. "Sure, huge vacations are terrific. But I always hear from my readers that the little things we do with our families can be even more memorable. Like reading together for an extra 10 minutes at bedtime, putting on bathing suits to wash the car in the driveway in the summer, or cuddling up to watch a movie all together even though it's a school night. It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day trials of parenting and work, that I really try to make myself slow down and think about the little things I can do at home that make things fun."

Beginning now through July 31, fans can visit to take part in The Surprise Inside Project by sharing details about how they want to pull off small, yet impactful surprises for their family and friends. Whether it's a picnic in the park or a family movie night, the Cracker Jack brand will fulfill hundreds of these small surprises, each up to $20 in value, and deliver them to lucky participants in custom Cracker Jack-branded boxes. From there, using the hashtag #CJSurprise, participants are encouraged to share via social media a picture or video of their loved one opening up the surprise inside the custom Cracker Jack box. Fans can visit for full contest rules. For additional inspiration, parents can also discover content from Gumbinner like humorous coupon books, colorful printables, and tips and tricks for surprising their family on Cool Mom Picks.

"The goal of The Surprise Inside Project is to help families reconnect to a timeless belief – the idea that small gestures can have big impact when it comes to family fun," explained Haston Lewis, senior director of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. "As a brand that has delighted families for generations, we're excited to help consumers find new and creative ways to bring fun to their lives. We can't wait to see what surprises they have in store!"

The Surprise Inside Project kicks off today with an exciting family-oriented event in New York City's famed Herald Square, running from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT. The experience will be complete with two larger-than-life Cracker Jack boxes, one standing 15 feet tall and a second full of oversized popcorn kernels and filled with small surprises for families to share. And the fun doesn't stop there. Families can enjoy music, entertainment and Cracker Jack samples, even personalizing boxes of Cracker Jack snacks for their family and friends to encourage others to join The Surprise Inside Project. Even the iconic Cracker Jack mascot, Sailor Jack, will be on hand to pose for photos with parents and their families.

Throughout the year, the Cracker Jack brand will build on The Surprise Inside Project with a variety of opportunities for families to engage with the brand and bring their own special moments to life. This includes a partnership for Macy's 4th of July Fireworks®, a spectacular event that has dazzled millions in New York and around the country for more than 35 years. The brand is also delighting baseball fans through its long-standing partnership with Major League Baseball, bringing team-specific stickers to Cracker Jack packages for the first time in more than 20 years. Consumers are invited to visit for even more surprises to come.

About Cracker Jack       
Cracker Jack is one of the brands that makes up Frito-Lay North America, the $13 billion convenient foods business unit of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), which is headquartered in Purchase, NY. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate website,, the Snack Chat blog, and on Twitter at

About PepsiCo PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $66 billion in net revenue in 2013, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

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SOURCE Frito-Lay North America