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Friday, May 23, 2008
Nestlé: Grownups Love Wonka Candy

May 23, 2008

By Mike Beirne
Nestlé managers discovered that they had ignored a key consumer demographic for their Wonka sugar candy products: adults. Through research the company found that Wonka sweets like Nerds, Spree and Laffy Taffy—which targeted tweens since Nestlé bought the Willy Wonka Candy Factory in 1988—also are being gobbled up by grownups as old as 35.

Women, in particular, indexed heavily for SweeTarts. The Wonka brand carries certain sentimental value for consumers in association with the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, followed by the 2005 release of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Wonka candy fans include not only kids, but also the generation that is reliving its childhood with nostalgic candy.

Currently, Nestlé and lead agency Dailey & Associates, West Hollywood, Calif., are tinkering with a Wonka campaign to target older teens, college-aged candy lovers and young adults, in addition to tweens, said company reps. The 10-year-old TV, online and POP effort features Wonka as an animated candy genius who shows off his factory's innovations.

Nestlé's measured media spending for the Wonka brand was $7.6 million last year, down from $11.6 million in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.Among new products arriving on retail shelves this September is Wonka Tinglerz— pieces of popping milk chocolate candy and rice crispies. In an effort to boost the Nerds franchise, Nestlé last month introduced a jellybean extension called Giant Chewy Nerds.

Ad support for the Nerds SKU includes TV, sampling and Webisodes on Nerds sales at grocery, drug and mass outlets (excluding Wal-Mart) declined 17% to 26 million units for the year ended April 20, per Information Resources Inc., Chicago.Wonka's big brands also include Laffy Taffy—up 10% to 12.3 million units sold—and SweeTarts—down 12% to 14.3 million units sold, per IRI.

by: Woodstock Candy


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