For Todd Elliott, combining citrusy candy and colorful dispensers with a unique online experience has created something pretty “radz.”
Starting two and a half years ago, Elliott, president of Radz Brands, drew upon his experience in toy invention and children’s media production to forge “RadzWorld,” an interactive, online portal accessed by purchasing brightly-colored, candy-dispensing characters called “Radz.”
“The entire Radz concept is sort of a compilation of these various industries from children’s media and interactive properties, entertainment, software and core product design,” Elliott says. “We came up with the Radz concept as a really cool stand-alone candy dispenser. We made it with interchangeable parts, then we decided to marry that with a robust software platform that we were building.”
The portal — which launched June 1 — features short videos about the flame-haired characters and educational flash games, as well as opportunities to participate in fan art contests and interact via social media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest.
Elliot says creating online connections is absolutely necessary to maintain brand loyalty in today’s digital world.
“Tying in an online experience in today’s day and age is a necessity, and it is also a great way to not only reach your fanbase, but also to encourage them to engage,” Elliot says. “It is so great to actually get that engagement because we know pretty immediately what our consumers, our fans want in the product, what they like.”
Interacting with characters online is only one component of the Radz concept, however. What’s inside the round figures also counts.
Elliot visited at least 11 candy manufacturers and explored various types of candy before settling on the pan-compressed dextrose product similar to a Wonka Runt he uses today.
“The candy we use also took a really long time to formulate,” Elliott says. “I’ve always been a huge fan of the different novelty candies that are out there, and Pez is a good example, but a lot of people don’t like the candy. From Day One, it was very important to us to make sure that there was a quality, great-tasting candy that could be sold as a stand-alone product.”
Currently, the candy comes in four flavors: strawberry splash, orange burst, apple smash and the original Radzberry, a flavor Elliott enjoys watching people eat for the first time.
“When you have a unique flavor like the Radzberry, you start to see the kids pick out the yellow (Radzberry ones) and have a conversation about how it’s special,” he says. “It’s really intriguing.”
The dispensers are sold in Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores and Hallmark franchises around the country, and June 5, Radz Brands announced Radz dispensers will be sold in online candy store Candyfavorites.com.
For the future, Elliott is working on creating more flavors, characters and entertainment options, in addition to negotiating with more retailers — all while keeping his goal in mind.
“I think we are on the verge of really something special,” he says. “One of goals was to make happy memories (and) create a product line that would resonate with consumers the rest of their life.”