Timing Is Everything with Licensed Novelty Candy

March 1, 2005
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Timing Is Everything with Licensed Novelty Candy

Novelty and Interactive Candy (or Candy With a toy Twist) is Taking on new Meaning for Retailers who Have Been Experiencing Lackluster toy Sales Lately. Some Hope the Smaller Toy-candies, With Affordable Price Points (many at 99 Cents Now), Will Help Compensate for Some Standard Smaller Toys (without Candy) That Haven’t Done so Well.
But because so many successful novelty candy items are currently marketed around new kid movie releases or books, timing is everything for a successful sale. Industry experts say novelty candy must be on the shelves when the initial movie or book promos hit the public—and actually half of the candy should be sold before the film opens, while the other half has the best chance of selling within the first two weeks of it hitting. After that, retailers could get stuck with unsold candy, especially if they didn’t plan ahead.
Cap Candy, which this year has offered novelty candy to coincide with such kid-targeted movies as “Robots” and “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,” advises retailers that it makes the most sense to be able to operate in as broad a promotional window as possible.
“The movie studios heat up about a month before the movie launch date with straight advertising and sneak previews, so retailers should at least be ready with the novelty candy at that time,” says Deirdre Gonzalez, vice president of marketing for Cap. She says that if retailers play their cards right, they should get four weeks before and four weeks after the movie launch date to promote and sell the candy through.
Grocery retailers can be the exception; Gonzalez says that many in this retail channel see their greatest opportunity and “better bang for the buck” to feature the candy at the time of the DVD launch, instead of the movie launch. “Again, it helps to offer the candy at least a month ahead of the launch,” she says.
Retailers who really want to garner the most sales, may want to consider both the movie and DVD launches as their prime novelty/candy opportunities.
The latest evergreen brands, which Gonzalez identifies currently as Star Wars and Harry Potter “transcend the norm,” she says. “With those, retailers can get a jump six weeks ahead and still be selling them six weeks after.
But timing is not just an issue with movie and DVD releases when it comes to novelty candy. Retailers need to also keep abreast of television, seasonal, and lifestyle trends, and perhaps set up some creative displays of their own and create a sense of kid urgency for purchasing.
In television, “Fear Factor” and “Survivor” have elevated the gross factor in novelty candy. Kandy Kastle is ready with its line of Ear Wax, Tar Pits, Big Toe Goo and its new Big Burp candy dispensers, which use electronic sound chips to create a burping noise—and are still priced at 99 cents.
“We have focused our branding to the kids’ market through kid events presented by Radio Disney, for example,” says Carol Prior, vice president of sales and marketing. “This gives us the opportunity to join in their events with providing samples of our novelty candies to all kids that attend. It gives the kids a real ‘hands-on’ experience.”
In the case of Halloween, another big timing event for retailers, Kandy Kastle worked around a game using its Brain Drain—a face with brains that squeezes out sour gel from the brain.
At Au’Some Candy Co., the emphasis on getting the word out about new kids’ novelty products is on the kids themselves.
“We feel that the right way to grasp the kids’ attention is word-of-mouth advertising,” says marketing manager Rose Downey. “Kids trust other kids’ judgment,” she continues. “If Child A buys the product and it tastes great and looks cool and is fun, Child B is going to want the product and so on. Trust the kids. They know best when it comes to candy.”
Finally, the whole theme of nostalgia is a currently  popular trend in candy. The timing is perfect now for retailers to work with manufacturers such as the B.A. Sweetie Candy Co, based in Brooklyn, which sells nostalgic novelty candy from the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s—everything from wax lips to pink-bubble-gum cigars and candy necklaces.
Trends and Hot Properties in 2005
CHARACTER  
• Alien Racers (MGA Entertainment)
• “Codename: Kids Next Door” and “Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends” (Cartoon Network)
• Pucca (Jetix Consumer Products International)
• “Zatch Bell” and “Deko Boko Friends” (ShoPro Entertainment)
ENTERTAINMENT
• Ashanti (Bravado International Group)
• “The Apprentice” (Brand Central)
• Cirque du Soleil Inc.
• “Batman Begins” (Warner Bros. Consumer Products)
PUBLISHING  
• “The Chronicles of Narnia” (HarperCollins)
• “The Spiderwick Chronicles” (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing)
• “Curious George” (Houghton Mifflin Company)
SOURCE: License! Magazine, December 2004

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