8 Fresh Brand-Building Campaigns

From tackling pressing social issues to simple interaction with consumers to build consensus on a new flavor development, many snack and candy brands have been busy this summer launching campaigns intended to enhance their brand equity above and beyond the shelf.

Such strategies can be effective, according to a new study. The Manifest, a business news platform based in Washington, D.C., found that 67% of 537 U.S. consumers surveyed said a recent brand purchase was sparked after seeing an ad on social media. The report also said that Facebook influences decisions more than other social platforms combined.

“Facebook is a legacy social-media platform that many generations go to, and the formatting of posts probably attracts those with a higher intent to purchase because it tends to feature long-form content,” said marketing strategist Andrew Clark of Baltimore-based Duckpin, cited in The Manifest report.

Click through to read about nine brand programs that surfaced this summer.

Image: Shutterstock

1. Skittles

For Halloween 2019, Mars Wrigley Confectionery’s Skittles will bring the #DareTheRainbow Challenge to social media as part of its launch of new Zombie Skittles. Each pack features a mix of five fruity flavors: Petrifying Citrus Punch, Mummified Melon, Boogeyman Blackberry, Chilling Black Cherry and Blood Red Berry, plus a rotten Zombie flavor that will not be obvious until bitten into. In the #DareTheRainbow Challenge, the brand teams asks consumers to gather their friends, record their experience as they try—and eventually taste—the hidden Zombie flavor, and then share on Instagram using #DareTheRainbow and @skittles.

Photograph courtesy of Skittles

2. Cheez-Its

Battle Creek, Mich.-based The Kellogg Co. has released pairings of the various flavors of Cheez-Its with wine, following a growing wave of online interest in the complementary flavors. “Fans on social media have already been participating in pairing wine with Cheez-It flavors for years,” said Jeff Delonis, marketing director for Cheez-It. “So we’re excited to deliver on that specific consumer trend.”

Image courtesy of Cheez-Its

3. Snickers

Through the end of September, consumers can send friends Snickers bars along with humorous videos through Hackettstown, N.J.-based Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S.’ national “Big Mood” micro-gifting campaign, a first for the candymaker.

Image courtesy of Snickers

4. M&M’s

Following a period of online voting, M&M’s fans selected English Toffee Peanut as their favorite option from this year’s Flavor Vote campaign, giving the new flavor a permanent position in the brand lineup. It features a combination of sweet toffee and savory peanut, covered in milk chocolate and wrapped in a colorful crispy shell.

“We love inviting our fans to partake in the flavor innovation process and influence the M&M’s products they see on shelves,” said Allison Miazga-Bedrick, M&M’s brand director. Two other flavors in the running were Mexican Jalapeno Peanut and Thai Coconut Peanut. In 2018, fans selected Crunchy Mint as the winner of the Flavor Vote campaign.

Photograph courtesy of M&M’s

5. Frito-Lay

Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay North America is relaunching its Snackable Notes variety packs, allowing parents to write an uplifting note to their child on the packaging. As a social enterprise tie-in, Frito-Lay will donate $1 to Feed The Children with every note sent to snackable-notes.com through Oct. 15.

Photograph courtesy of Frito-Lay North America

6. The Hershey Co.

Hershey, Pa.-based The Hershey Co. is addressing social isolation among teens as part of its Heartwarming Project, which involves holding a summit on the topic and providing grants. Hershey is also working with companies such as Snapchat, Google and Imgur to help teens use social media in a positive way.

Also, for the first time in its 125-year history, Hershey changed the look of its original milk chocolate bar, transforming the packaging and format to appeal to consumers who enjoy emojis, or ideograms used in electronic messages and web pages. The limited-time Emoji Bar features 25 emoji characters across six different package designs. The emojis on the new bar include a laughing face with tears and a smiley face sticking out its tongue. Each emoji was selected by parents and kids to feature meanings that would help to spark a conversation, Hershey said.

7. Imagine Snacks

Imagine Snacks, Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo’s healthy line of snacks for kids, has entered into a three-year partnership with the No Kid Hungry campaign, which works to battle childhood hunger in the United States. The goal of the campaign is to provide 3 million meals, with Imagine also issuing $50,000 grants to meal sites to enable creative play opportunities for children.

8. Sun-Maid

Kingsburg, Calif.-based Sun-Maid Growers of California, which entered the fruit snacks category with Sour Raisin Snacks, launched a 360-degree marketing campaign that aims to educate consumers about the new product, as well as demonstrate how a fruit snack should and can be whole fruit through the use of imagination, the supplier said. Created by a food and beverage creative agency, the “Imagine That” campaign includes TV, digital, social and paid search, among other components. In addition, the brand hosted an immersive, kid-friendly event on Aug. 7 at The Wonder in New York City, where adults and children could experience curiosity and whimsy through experiential activities that incorporate Sour Raisin Snacks.

Photograph courtesy of Sun-Maid