Sour Patch Kids turns the tables on Halloween trick-or-treating

Dive Brief:

  • Sour Patch Kids candy is helping families celebrate Halloween safely by hosting a reverse trick-or-treating event around the country. The Mondelez-owned brand will deliver special Sour Patch Kids packages on Halloween night in 12 U.S. cities, the company announced.
  • Candy fans can nominate their city starting Oct. 8, and residents of the selected dozen cities on Oct. 31 can enter a sweepstakes to win on-demand delivery of Sour Patch Kids Zombies and branded toilet paper through Fooji. Participants can enter by tweeting to the Sour Patch Kids’ account and hashtags #SourThenSweetHalloween #Sweepstakes, then view the brand’s Instagram Story to see if they’ve won.
  • One city will be chosen to host a visit from the brand’s Kids mascots. They will ride through the neighborhoods in a massive jack-o-lantern vehicle that’s shaped like the classic candy bucket, delivering contact-free packages of Halloween tricks and treats to families’ doors.

Dive Insight:

Mondelez’s Sour Patch Kids brand is the latest to find an inventive way to remain top-of-mind among consumers as the pandemic continues to threaten trick-or-treating traditions around the country. Sour Patch Kids’ reverse trick-or-treating effort is meant to be a “reminder that there are still ways to get creative, have fun and enjoy tricks — and treats — in a safe way this Halloween,” Brand Manager Danielle Freid said in an announcement.

A video touting the promotion depicts life-sized Sour Patch Kids emerging from the shadows to descend upon a Halloween-decorated house. A voiceover explains how trick-or-treating “will come to you” this year and instructs people to get details at the brand’s Instagram page. Steering people to the brand’s social media accounts may encourage a follow or further engagement with Sour Patch Kids online.

More than three-quarters of Americans say the virus is impacting their Halloween celebration plans, with plans for parties, trick-or-treating, handing out candy and visiting haunted houses all declining, according to the National Retail Federation. Seventeen percent say they plan to celebrate Halloween virtually, according to the NRF.

For snack and candy brands, Halloween is one of the most important sales periods of the year. As consumers and entire communities reconsider the practicality of trick-or-treating in a pandemic, many brands are inventing fresh ways to remain relevant. Hostess, Mars Wrigley, Party City and now Sour Patch Kids are putting a bigger focus on mobile and social media this year to make the most of Halloween and engage consumers on their preferred platforms.

Mars Wrigley last week launched Treat Town, an app-based trick-or-treating platform where people can collect virtual credits to be redeemed for real-world candies. Party City and neighborhood social app Nextdoor similarly teamed up on an AR experience where users can unlock virtual visitors for their Halloween parties. Hostess is helping consumers “Bring Halloween Home” with party and snack ideas promoted by social media influencers.

Meanwhile, Sour Patch Kids parent company Mondelez announced this week it’s looking to ramp up marketing investments during the pandemic, with a focus on putting ad dollars toward digital channels instead of TV spots.

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