Ferrara Uses Reality TV Approach for Organic Gummy Debut

Real Gummies of the Black Forest Will Tie Into Real Housewives of Orange County to Appeal to Female Snackers

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Ferrara Candy Co. is using ideas from reality TV, specifically from "The Real Housewives of Orange County," to promote new organic gummy bears.

If that "Real Housewives" series is known in shorthand as "RHOC," Ferrara's latest marketing push could be called "RGOTBF," for Real Gummies of the Black Forest.

The campaign stars four CGI bears with a bit of an attitude about being organic.

Teasers began appearing on social media on June 1. Beginning June 15, Ferrara will run three 30-second spots online, though Ferrara Senior VP of Marketing & Brand Strategy Jill Manchester likes to call them episodes.

"How we've thought about this campaign is really like it's a reality TV program," Ms. Manchester said of the push, which Ferrara is spending $10 million on.

Ferrara began selling Black Forest organic gummy bears in late 2015 in Kroger and gained broader distribution in early 2016. The company sees organic candy as "a huge growth opportunity" as the items are currently a tiny part of the overall market but appeal to those looking to treat themselves with snacks they feel better about.

According to Ms. Manchester, Black Forest organic items are bringing new users into the category. They also have stronger repeat purchase rates than other new candy products, even though the organic items carry a price premium of about 40% over conventional gummies. "We have our sights on creating over a $200 million non-chocolate organic portfolio very, very quickly," Ms. Manchester said.

She said the target audience for the organic candy line is "thoughtful candy enthusiasts," mainly women from 25 to 34.

"Organics can be a very serious category," said Ms. Manchester, adding that Ferrara wanted to promote the line with humor while still communicating the differences of an organic product.

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In the "Dinner" spot, viewers are introduced to the family and what it means to be an organic gummy. The second spot, "Enhancements," (above) plays on what is real, what is not and what is found desirable. The third spot, "Streakers," (below) shows how young organic gummy bears can get a bit wild in the fictional forest.

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As part of the push, the bears will recreate some iconic moments from "The Real Housewives of Orange County" that will run on Bravo's web site, Ms. Manchester said. Also, the Mrs. Organic gummy bear character and RHOC's Vicki Gunvalson are set to have a back and forth engagement on social media.

The campaign from Tom, Dick & Harry Creative Co., Chicago, is one of three creative pitches the agency submitted, Ms. Manchester said. "It's not too serious. It gets across the point that they're organic."

The campaign, which uses the tagline "Certified organic. Certifiably delicious," is set to run through September. Kelly Scott Madison is the media agency on the campaign.

Last month, Ferrara introduced organic versions of Sour Heads, Fruity Chews, Candy Drops and Caramel Hard Candies. It is aiming to introduce organic candies in additional segments, perhaps in areas such as licorice or mints.

"We will have a full organic candy line hitting all the major non-chocolate segments when we are done," Ms. Manchester said.

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