Posted by: nickgerlich | November 18, 2007

Are We There Yet?

I remember walking through Amarillo’s Westgate Mall around 1990, and seeing a kiosk with a very interesting enticement, begging me to try “The Ice Cream of the Future.” Always being a futurist, I thought this might be interesting. A sneak peak at tomorrow and the great beyond. Try as I might, though, I had to take a closer look, because I had always assumed ice cream to come in large buckets, and served by the scoop in either a bowl or on a cone.

Dippin DotsThe folks at Dippin’ Dots had a different idea, though. Relying on the process of cryogenic encapsulation, ice cream could be made in tiny little frozen beads, and then served in a bowl.

And you could charge $4 for the pleasure.

Wow, what a come on, I quickly surmised. Ever the astute marketer (in my own mind, at least), my nose for gimmickry was twitching uncontrollably. Here was a solution to a consumer behavior problem that I did not know existed. Imagine that…all that time I had figured we were perfectly content with ice cream the way it always had been.

But I must give props to the Dippin’ Dots folks, because they have certainly capitalized on our passion for novelty. Their little kiosks now dot (pun intended) shopping malls, water parks, and amusement parks nationwide. Furthermore, my kids recently discovered Dippin’t Dots in the freezer section at the grocery. Now we can catch a glimpse of the future right here in our very own home.

My only question is this: How long do we have to wait for the future to get here? It has been 17 years since I saw my first Dippin’ Dots, and I do not see the folks at Marble Slab converting their operations to little frozen beads. Last I checked, most people still buy ice cream in round containers at the store, and in bowls or on cones while out and about.

Can anyone say “better mousetrap?”

Dr “Two Scoops” Gerlich


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