Cadbury's candy push

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Cadbury Schweppes hopes to sweeten sales of its non-chocolate confectionery business in the U.S. by developing first-ever national promotions for its Jaret International unit's brands, among them Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids and new Hawaiian Punch Soft & Chewy Candy.

Although Cadbury is the world's fourth largest confectioner, its U.S. presence has been limited to the licensing of its chocolate brands here to Hershey Foods Corp. and to mainly branded bulk sales of products under Jaret, a unit it acquired in 1997 and was managed out of Canada. Earlier this year, however, Cadbury moved Jaret operations to Woodbridge, N.J., and hired 25-year confectionery veteran Greg Barratt as president to spearhead efforts to grow and expand its non-chocolate confection business.

One of Mr. Barratt's first moves was to hire "good marketing people," he said, and to start planning 2002 marketing efforts "so we can begin to raise awareness levels of our products and give stores stronger reason to carry them." Although national media is not in the initial plans for next year, Mr. Barratt said the plan is to build distribution enough to do campaigns by 2003, a timeline he hopes to accelerate. Trade advertising for Jaret brands has been handled by FDN&P, White House Station, N.J. There is no agency review planned at this time, Mr. Barratt said.

In the past, because more than 20% of the brands' sales come from movie theaters, the little promotional efforts devoted to Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish were concentrated in those channels. Now, though, to expand distribution beyond theaters and national retail chains, Jaret plans to launch national consumer promotions.

Sales for Jaret in supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers totaled roughly $23 million for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 7, according to Information Resources Inc.

Among the efforts is a program through Primedia's Cover Concepts Marketing Services that in January will distribute 500,000 book covers for middle schools with samples of Sour Patch Kids in the top 10 markets. The sampling effort will dovetail with an on-pack promotion that may tie in with a partner. In addition, Jaret will sample both Sour Patch and Swedish Fish at an undisclosed national clothing retailer to reach teens. Jaret's Bassett's Licorice All-Sorts will carry an offer for a trip to London and flag the addition of 33% more product per bag in the spring.

The company also recently unveiled plans for the launch in January of Hawaiian Punch Soft & Chewy Candy based on the fruit-drink brand Cadbury acquired in 1999. To promote the launch, Jaret will implement cross-promotions such as joint merchandising displays with sibling unit Mott's, which this summer broke a new TV campaign for the juice drinks (AA, Aug. 27).

Consumer research shows Sour Patch and Swedish Fish compare favorably among teens with leading non-chocolate products including Masterfoods USA's Starburst and Skittles brands, Mr. Barratt said. Now, he needs to turn that interest into sales.

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