NEW YORK The Brooklyn Brothers, an ad agency that is neither based in Brooklyn nor run by brothers, is getting into the chocolate business.
The New York-based independent is currently testing an organic chocolate called Fat Pig that it hopes to get into select stores soon.
"The first reason we decided to do this is because we adore chocolate," said Guy Barnett, agency founder. "A year and a half ago I saw a report that the organic candy market is worth about $200 million. Knowing that the non-organic market is worth billions and billions, we wanted to take advantage of that opportunity."
That decision kicked off a year of tasting organic and non-organic chocolates. After consuming countless bites of chocolate, a consensus began to form around a flavor everyone could agree on. "The flavoring most people responded to was a Swiss milk chocolate. It was rich with no kind of aftertaste," said Barnett. "It was a little sweeter than a Belgian chocolate but without the undertones."
Once a flavor was chosen, the next task was to find a supplier. What made this difficult is that organic chocolate can't be made on the same machinery as non-organic chocolate.
Wilbur Chocolate in Pennsylvania makes the product, which is packaged by Custom Chocolate in Minnesota. The Brooklyn Brothers recently received an initial shipment of 3,000 bars it is taking to local stores to gauge interest. The hope is to have about 50,000 bars in the market over the next 18 months once distribution is secured. Individual bars will retail for between $3-4.
The packaging continues the pig theme with pieces wrapped in pink foil. The outer wrapper shows a large, light-pink circle with two dark circles symbolizing a pig's snout.
"One thing about running your own business is that it helps you understand each step needed to be successful, but also gives us an understanding of our clients needs," said Barnett.
Fat Pig is not the only non-advertising business Brooklyn Brothers is working on. Others include a children's book, a furniture line and a soda.
There is also a Web site with the candy's tagline -- "Bad for you in a good way" -- prominently featured. While it currently is a placeholder, the company hopes to launch the site next week with the ability to order online.
"It's a post-modern chocolate that is self-aware of its own morality," said Barnett.