Hershey goes on the offensive to combat Mars / Wrigley merger
Hershey says its planning to spend more to promote its brands to better compete for candy buyers' when Mars buys Wrigley. More specifically, they'll up advertising spending by 20% in 2008 and 2009. In addition, they're also making changes to their supply chain and marketing to combat rising costs for cocoa, energy and milk, and losses of sales to Mars.
M&M's Goes Tongue-In-Cheek For Ice Cream Treats Introduction
Wow...more M&Ms news this week.
"A slightly mischievous sense of fun has always been one of the appeals of the colorful, iconic M&M's characters. Now, Mars Snackfood U.S. is displaying a penchant for self-tweaking, and even a touch of the risqué, in its campaign for its new M&M's Ice Cream Treats."
M&Ms and NASCAR Launch "The Most Colorful Fan of Nascar" Contest
M&M/Mars and NASCAR are launching "The Most Colorful Fan of Nascar" contest, where candy and/or racing fans can upload photos to Nascar.com for a chance to be one of five finalists. Those finalists get a trip to the Ford 400 in Homestead, Fla., on Nov. 16, where the winners will be determined. The winner (i.e. The Most Colorful Fan of Nascar) will win a Tissot wrist watch and a VIP trip for two to the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Click here to enter the contest, or to get yourself some M&Ms click here.
M&Ms Offering Employee Discount on Custom Photo M&Ms
Custom M&Ms have been around for awhile, but now you can actually put a photo on them - talk about customization! To help kick things off, they are offering the 20% employee discount to people who purchase before 6/30/08.
Twix and their ad agency (Nitro) have launched a website to go with their "Get the Girl" ad (below). The new website - www.twix.com - goes hand in hand with the commercial, where we meet out flirty yet stumbling hero. The site lets you pick the next moves, so you can see how the story turns out and whether he gets the girl. Sort of like a candy-rific Choose Your Own Adventure game.
Candy companies hoping "functional" health benefits help business
Candy companies are betting that the trend toward healthy foods will extend to their confections - Cadbury, Wrigley and Mars are all launching new gums and candies this summer designed to provide health benefits. The "functional" candy category has grown in 2006, up nearly 2% to $1.5 billion.
For Cadbury - a new gum line called Trident Xtra Care. Its made with recaldent, a form of calcium derived from milk that has been shown to strengthen tooth enamel by filling in crevices where cavities can form. FYI - recaldent is already being used in Trident White (also from Cadbury), but Xtra Care will 2x as much.
For Wrigley - a new line of its Eclipse gum and mints formulated with magnolia bark extract (MBE), a substance that is supposed to help bad breath.
For Mars - two new lines of vitamin-enriched Dove chocolates earlier this year - Dove Vitalize (with vitamin B and plant sterols) and Dove Beautiful (with vitamins C and E, biotin and zinc).
Candy Snob has been a long-time fan of the Twix bar - crunchy, a little chewy and of so delicious. So we had to pick up a Twix Java when we saw it at the checkout counter recently. The press release says it is a limited edition for March, which I only heard once I ate it - I didn't notice any staleness or lack of freshness though.
Twix Java does more than simply infuse the chocolate with coffee flavor, which would have been the easy thing to do. Instead they changed both the caramel and the cookie, and we'e glad they did because it makes for one delicious treat. Let's start with the caramel. Twix Java uses a much darker caramel that its traditional cousin. It is nearly as dark as the milk chocolate. And the cookie is now a chocolate cookie. So visually, this makes the inside of the Twix Java lack the distinct colors of the regular Twix bar, they are all nearly the same color. However, where it may not have the visual interest, it more than makes up in taste and flavor depth.
There is good bitterness in the coffee flavor, we found it to be quite "real" in taste - rather than just adding in coffee flavoring you sometimes get in other coffee-flavored chocolates and in coffee ice cream.
The chocolate cookie, however, is what makes this bar really stand out. It adds a level of depth that would have otherwise been lost had they used the normal vanilla cookie. Coupled with the coffee-infused caramel, its a multi-layered taste experience with nice balance and bite.
One thing Twix did not change with the Twix Java is the milk chocolate coating. This made for another interesting layer of flavor. Given the darker caramel and cookie, dark chocolate would have naturally been the natural pick to us, but we were both intrigued and pleased with what the milk chocolate brought to the table - which was a creaminess and sweetness that worked nicely with the other flavors.
At this week's National Confectioners Association All Candy Expo, Mars announced that it will be taking their personalization of M&Ms program to the next level with "M&M Faces." Now you can write personal messages on M&Ms, but with M&M Faces you'll be able to upload a photo and put it on a batch of M&Ms. The program is set to launch next month.
"The consumers aren't recreating the brand, they enhance it," said Cass. "The brand essence is fun, and they simply redefine that," says Jim Cass, Mars Direct's VP. Kudos for understanding how consumers interact with THEIR brand guys.