Sour Patch Kids, a chewy candy covered in a tart, sugary coating, has become a brand that every teenager knows and many millennials love. At Advertising Week, Farrah Bezner, marketing director of Halls and Candy at Mondelēz International, unveiled the four pillars that helped turn Sour Patch Kids into a cultural icon.
Bezner started her presentation with the four most common ways that people become famous, “You can be unique like Donald Trump, show your depth like Pope Francis, hang out with famous people like the Kardashians, or you can distinguish yourself on the Internet like YouTube influencers.”
“Brands can do the same to become famous,” Bezner said.
So how did Bezner and her team use these four principles to turn Sour Patch Kids into a notable candy brand?
1. Be Unique
“We bring the brand to places and platforms that people do not expect to see Sour Patch Kids,” Bezner said.
Last summer, the brand launched its first Snapchat campaign, “Real-Life Sour Patch Kid,” in collaboration with social media star Logan Paul. Over a period of five days, Paul posted a Snapchat Story to Sour Patch Kids’ account detailing his daily high jinks.
As the brand’s parent, this campaign also marks Mondelēz International’s initial foray into Snapchat.
2. Show Your Depth
Every brand has its own personality, according to Bezner. In the true “sour and sweet” format, Sour Patch Kids ran a contest on story-sharing site Wattpad for Valentine’s Day of last year. Visitors were invited to write love stories that ended with a twist, such as the sour then sweet piece, When Miss Sweet Meets Mr. Sour.
Sour Patch Kids turned the winner’s story into an animated digital film and promoted it on social platforms.
3. Hang Out with Famous People
“There are many famous people. The real question is: what famous people should we hang out with?” Bezner said.
In order to figure out who Sour Patch Kids should be friends with, the brand became a sponsor for the Teen Choice Awards 2015, which celebrates the hottest teen icons in television, music, film, sports, fashion, comedy, and the Web. The brand was live on the red carpet with an exclusive Snapstory, featuring social star Jake Paul.
— Sour Patch Kids (@SourPatchKids) August 17, 2015
“You many not recognize these people, but they are the most influential celebrities among teenagers today,” Bezner noted.
4. Distinguish Yourself on the Internet
“For teenagers to watch content, first and foremost, you need to create content that they want to watch,” Bezner said.
During October of last year, Sour Patch Kids created its first scripted series called Breaking Out, and integrated the brand into the six episodes. The show stars YouTube celebrities – Andrea Russet, Ricky Dillon, Chris Collins, and Brent Rivera – a group that has a combined total of more than five million YouTube followers at the time.
Since the series was well received amongst teenagers, Sour Patch Kids launched a second season for this year.
Sour Patch Kids has also started working with musicians and created a program called The Patch. This initiative provides a free home in Brooklyn, New York (#BrooklynPatch) and Austin, Texas (#AustinPatch) for artists on tour. Musicians submit their applications through the Nue Agency, and promising brands are invited to stay in one of the homes for a few nights. The selected bands also team up with Sour Patch Kids to create content. Their video interviews and recorded musical performances are then shared on The Patch‘s Tumblr and YouTube pages.
“This allows us to hang out with musicians and communicate with their fans in an authentic way,” Bezner said.
When asked how she evaluates all the above marketing efforts and converts them into sales, Bezner said that Sour Patch Kids uses a combined approach.
“There are traditional measuring models for the brand. For example, if Sour Patch Kids creates 20 TV spots, we can tell which ones drive sales and which ones do not. However, there are certain marketing efforts, such as our recent music program, that do not have direct KPIs. These efforts help us move at the speed of culture, and help our fans fall in love with us,” she noted.
“Brand-love cannot be measured by metrics, but it will ultimately lead to sales,” she adds.
Homepage image via Sour Patch Kids Twitter.
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