The New England Confectionery Company, or Necco, which produces the Sweethearts candies formerly known as Conversation Hearts that have "affectionate" sayings like, "Kiss Me," "Be True," and, "XOXO," has launched #Tweethearts, or what it calls a customized social media campaign that uses Twitter to create personalized Sweethearts candies.
Created by advertising and marketing agency Hill Holliday, the #Tweethearts campaign invites consumers to visit the #Tweethearts website, where they are encouraged to send a message to the Twitter handle @Tweethearts.
After sending a tweet, the user receives a response tweet with an image of his or her message in Sweetheart form, with one word per candy. Users can then share the image, or order personalized candies for delivery. The customized candy comes in a 1-pound bag for $29.99, which is delivered within five business days, Necco says.
According to Alyssa Hills, Necco's director of marketing, a 1-pound bag has about 450 Sweethearts.
She also notes the original idea for the campaign from Hill Holliday envisioned the bag of candy as filled with puzzle pieces the recipient could put together to form the original message.
Sweethearts originated in 1866. According to Necco, more than 4 million pounds of Sweethearts are sold in the six weeks leading up to Valentine's Day.
Necco overhauled its Conversation Hearts line circa 2009, which is when it changed the name to Sweethearts, Hills says. At that time, Necco also updated the flavors to include apple, strawberry, grape, and orange. In addition, Necco periodically updates the sayings, such as removing the 1990s-era "Fax Me," and adding, "Tweet Me."
The #Tweethearts campaign skews young, or toward consumers in their early 20s or early 30s "at the most," Hills says.
"It's the people most heavily on Twitter and still involved with the dating scene," she adds.
To push the campaign, Necco created a holiday rap video, which is available on the #Tweethearts website and Vimeo.
As of January 27, @Tweethearts has about 50 followers. (@NeccoWafers has about 1,600. Necco also has 11,000 likes on Facebook.)
In addition to #Tweethearts, Necco is also offering limited-edition engraveable solid gold Sweethearts with custom messages for Valentine's Day.
The 24-karat gold custom Sweethearts are available in a box of four 1/2-ounce Sweethearts for $19,995. Necco says the product is available exclusively to the first 14 purchasers at its online store.
However, as of January 22, Hills says the brand has not yet sold any gold Sweethearts.
The brand also has a coloring contest for kids in which it invites children to color black and white packaging and submit their designs on the Necco website.
Other Necco brands include Necco Wafers, Mary Jane, Clark, Haviland, Canada Mints, Skybar, Mighty Malts, and Candy House.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014