Created by Unilever (UL) 's Klondike in 1983, the Choco Taco has helped shape more than one generation's summer memories. The taco-shaped waffle cone filled with vanilla ice cream, a fudge swirl and chocolate peanut dip was sold at almost every store, ice cream truck and, as part of a partnership that lasted several decades, was even on Taco Bell menus.
While most people over 25 will not be able to recall the last time they had a Choco Taco, it sometimes takes the potential of loss to realize that the love really was there.
Have we not Heard the Last of the Choco Taco?
When on July 25, Klondike confirmed rumors that one of the "very tough decisions" it had to make this quarter was axing the Choco Taco, the internet response was swift and pulled no punches.
"If Choco Tacos are gone, what's next?" well-known horror writer Stephen King wrote on Twitter (TWTR) . "Hershey Pies? Salt and vinegar potato chips? Baseball? AMERICAN DEMOCRACY? I tell you: this is how it starts."
"Are the people who decided to get rid of the Choco Taco also the same people who got rid of Hi-C at McDonalds? And Mexican pizza at Taco Bell?" wrote ESPN host Vanessa Richardson. "Show your face, you cowards."
Certain social media posts about the Choco Taco had over 240,000 likes.
Some questioned how Klondike could "do something so cruel" while others speculated whether the discontinuation was part of an age-old technique used by fast and snack food companies — stir up a storm by announcing that a beloved product is "disappearing" only to bring it back to much fanfare a short time later.
"It's not a big stretch to think that Unilever, which recently very publicly decided to stop making the Choco Taco, wants to kill the beloved treat so it can come back even stronger," wrote TheStreet's Managing Editor Daniel Kline.
In the case of the Choco Taco, it didn't even take a month for Klondike to start giving off signs that it may be changing course, although the company has repeatedly denied stipulations that anything to do with the Choco Taco was "a stunt."
While offering no details or timelines, Klondike has indicated it is warming to the idea of not killing off the Choco Taco.
Demanding Liberty and Choco Tacos
"The overwhelming support for Choco Taco has certainly made us reconsider our long-term plans," Klondike told CNN Business. "The team is working on a plan to bring it back, though it may take some time."
The ice cream maker has also been answering questions on social media by saying that while the Choco Taco "really is discontinued," it may at some point appear at "ice cream trucks in the future."
Naturally, there is no information on when that "future" can be and whether the Choco Taco will undergo some kind of rebranding.
In some ways, the swift response from Klondike represents a phenomenon unique to the digital age — customers interacting directly with the makers and telling them what they do not want to see. Bringing back the Choco Taco, in other words, could be good for both public relations and business.