The company was involved with the production of a film called “Dumb and Dumberer,” a prequel to the 1994 comedy “Dumb and Dumber” that starred Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels.
The New Line caller explained that the company was looking for a prop to furnish one of the gags in the film. The relevant scene features the two main characters, this time played by Eric Christian Olsen and Derek Richardson, coming out of a store with Slushees in hand. They drink them so quickly that they get brain freeze.
Mick Daniels knew the type of scene New Line had in mind, having seen the first film himself.
“I was familiar with the film and the characters,” he said. “My kids watch it all the time.”
What he didn’t know was that his children would one day see his own product immortalized on celluloid.
New Line Cinema had found a mention of the Slushee website on the internet and was eager to get the contact details of the American office.
“I thought they were joking,” Daniels said. “I explained that Slushee is sold only in Ireland.”
Confused as to why New Line Cinema had gone to the trouble of requesting an Irish product instead of an American one, Daniels made inquiries. Apparently, the company had negotiated to use another American brand, but once the brand realized that there was an explosion to be featured at the end of the film, it balked at the inclusion of its product and withdrew.
Daniels had no such qualms.
“They could have had a nuclear explosion at the end and it would still have been worth it for the publicity,” Daniels said. “In fact, they could have blown me up and it wouldn’t have made a difference.”
When looking for a replacement, the word Slushee had turned up an internet entry for Daniels’s website.
“That is the generic name for these ice drinks in the U.S., but we were lucky that it is actually our brand name,” he said.
Having convinced Daniels of its intentions, New Line requested so-called ice-boon machines. The boon machine carbonizes the ice, making a fizzy Slushee. Daniels shipped off two of the machines and a regular twin-bowl machine to Georgia, where filming was to take place. He flew over himself to witness the filming of the scene, which he described as extremely funny.
Daniels had taken a gamble with the Slushee brand. Having worked in Ireland as a distributor for a brand of ice drinks called Slush Puppy for 17 years, he decided to branch out on his own in 1999. He thought of a name and a logo and hired a flavorings company to manufacture the drink.
“I thought of a million different names,” Daniels said. “Eventually, I thought the word Slushee was very descriptive. It suited the product.”
Packaged in orange and blue cups with a polar bear logo, the mixture of crushed ice and fruity dilute comes in seven flavors.
“Over the course of 18 months, we fine-tuned the recipe until it was exactly what we wanted,” Daniels said. The flavors — strawberry, blue raspberry, lemon & lime, orange, cola, blackcurrant and cherry — were tested on panels of 30 people. “The panels were made up mainly of children as our target customer is aged between 4 and 14,” he said.
According to the Slushee website, there are three main distribution points for the product in Ireland — Dungannon, Longford and Waterford. The drinks are sold mainly in shopping malls and recreation centers throughout Ireland.
Daniels acknowledges that few benefits have yet to be accrued from the drinks’ appearance in the film.
“It hasn’t made a difference yet, so we’re building up to capitalize when the movie opens on June 13,” he said.
One positive result is the possibility of selling Slushee in the U.S. “Because of the film, we have a distributor in Los Angeles,” Daniels said. “The distributor is interested in using the film connection and that will have huge advantages publicity-wise for both of us.”
The approximate price of a single serving of Slushee is 80 cents, but Daniels hopes to match the other Slushee makers in the U.S. by being as competitive as he can.
“We are willing to do whatever it takes,” he said. “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”