INFLATING NEWS

Yes, bubble wrap is going popless, but the good stuff will still be around

Sealed Air Corp, which invented bubble wrap back in 1957, announced on July 1 what the internet believed to be the be killing off of one of life’s simplest pleasures. The company’s new line of bubble wrap will not make a popping sound when it’s squeezed. Alas, fear not: The old-fashioned bubble wrap is sticking around.

Sealed Air’s communications director Ken Aurichio tells Quartz that the idea behind this new line isn’t shockingly new. For anyone that’s received a package that has what appear to be little inflated raviolis of air protecting their goods—that’s basically the same idea as Sealed Air’s new bubble wrap.

According to the Wall Street Journal (paywall) the company’s decision to make its next generation of bubble wrap popless comes down to saving space. The new version will be shipped to its business clientele deflated, and they will then fill the wrap up with air using a pump they can buy from Sealed Air. The new wrap doesn’t have individual pockets of air—the bubbles are all interconnected, which allows them to be inflated in much the same way as one would inflate a pool float.

“We first talked about this product about 10 or 11 years ago,” Aurichio says. “Obviously the social media element is much more prominent than it was 10 years ago.” But for regular consumers who still want rolls of the regular wrap to pop to our heart’s content, you need not worry—the good stuff is still going to be produced.

“You should not be worried,” Aurichio tells Quartz. “Bubble wrap hasn’t gone anywhere.”

What shouldn’t be forgiven, however, is what Sealed Air is calling its new creation: “iBubble.” Whether intentional or accidental, this comes across like a nod to the now-abandoned Apple convention of prefixing “i” to its product names, which at this point is derivative and corny.

Hopefully Sealed Air’s move, while financially prudent—the Wall Street Journal says the company’s bubble wrap sales are declining in an increasingly crowded market—will not start a chain reaction of businesses trying to kill fun. You know, as in: Toys ‘R’ Us replaces all swing sets with desk chairs, Crayola makes crayons in only in the color beige, or snow cones manufacturers only produce water-flavored ices.

The above image was taken by thebarrowboy and shared under a Creative Commons license on Flickr.

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