Sweethearts packs up boxes of its blurry, misprinted candies for those in confusing relationships

Tombras embraces imperfection in dreaming up ‘Sweethearts Situationships’ just in time for Valentine’s Day

Published On
Jan 08, 2024
Product shot of a Sweethearts Situationships box of candies

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Confectionary manufacturing errors aren’t a problem—they’re an opportunity!

That’s how agency Tombras saw the blurry, misprinted candies that pop up here and there in boxes of Sweethearts, the iconic brand of candy conversation hearts. Rather than throw them out, Tombras saw a better use for these misfit sweets—boxing them up separately and selling them around Valentine’s Day to those whose own relationship status is far from clear.

Boxes of “Sweethearts Situationships” go on sale at 9 a.m. ET today (Jan. 8) at SweetheartsCandies.com. For those unfamiliar, the word “situationship” has entered the lexicon—it means a romantic or sexual relationship that’s not considered to be formal or established. (The word was an Oxford University Press finalist for “Word of the Year” last year.)

Spangler Candy, makers of Sweethearts, says the Situationships candies are “as hard to read as Gen Z relationships.” The video below from Tombras explains more.


Avinash Baliga, executive creative director at Tombras, told Ad Age that the the agency had to interrupt the product’s typical production process for the idea to work.

“Usually, the hearts go through two inspection points for legibility prior to being bagged or boxed. Illegible hearts are ground up and made into new hearts,” he said. “But for this limited-edition box, we rescued the blurry misprinted hearts and packaged them as ‘Situationship’ hearts.” 

Being in a situationship isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Spangler cited data from Tinder suggesting Gen Z are more comfortable not defining a relationship’s status today—and are less concerned about relationship outcomes and more interested in enjoying the process.

Evan Brock, VP of marketing for Spangler, framed the campaign as a way to celebrate imperfection. “Singles are taking ‘situationships’ to the next level this year, and Sweethearts is here for them,” he said. “The printing on Sweethearts isn’t always perfect. This is our way of embracing those imperfections in a way that taps into pop culture.”


Jan 08, 2024
Client :
Client :
Spangler Candy
Agency :
President :
Kirk Vashaw
VP Marketing :
Evan Brock
President :
Dooley Tombras
Chief Creative Officer :
Jeff Benjamin
Executive Creative Director :
Avi Baliga
Creative Director :
Donny Brunner
Associate Creative Director :
Christine Petrosky
Associate Creative Director :
Brennen Cooke
Chief Client Officer :
Ashley Butturini
Account Supervisor :
Reise Kitts
Producer :
Renee Safir
Sr. Strategist :
Adriane Hershey
Social Media Brand Manager :
Morgan Glaub

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