Airheads Calls For Sweet Talk

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Van Melle’s confections are up in the air again.
The Erlanger, Ky.-based maker of Airheads candy is in the preliminary stages of a quiet review for its $1-3 million account, according to sources, and has contacted an undisclosed list of agencies about the business, which involves mostly television work.
Van Melle has asked for a current reel of television spots, general capability information and thoughts on brand building and advertising to 6-12 year olds.
The client contracted GSD&M of Austin, Texas, in the fall of 1995 to create the first national advertising campaign for the candy brand. Officials at GSD&M, however, said the agency resigned the business about six months ago due to account inactivity and a changing of the guard at Van Melle.
Former Airheads product manager Matthew Fenton, who was running the business, is no longer with the company, although it was not clear at press time last week who had replaced him.
Van Melle is the U.S. subsidiary of Breda, Holland-based Van Melle International, which has used off-beat television commercials to successfully position its Mentos candy. The company was trying to achieve the same effect with the lower profile Airheads.
Historically, Van Melle has not discussed advertising plans, but in the recent past, television has been the medium of choice for the taffy-like confection. The client had not returned calls at press time.
The partnership between Van Melle and GSD&M waned after a six-month courtship and informal review process. The agency did do some television work for the candy manufacturer that focused on kids’ solving problems creatively.
The tagline employed in Airheads’ advertising was: “Use your head.” –with Steve Krajewski