D’Arcy Revamps Chupa Work

Chupa Chups’ new agency, D’Arcy, St. Louis, will attempt to broaden the lollipop’s audience beyond its primary 12-24 focus with first- quarter print ads in fashion, film and music magazines and radio spots built around an irreverent, yet more wholesome, “Fun for your mouth” theme.

The new theme will compliment executions appealing to kids, young adults and older consumers. The total budget is pegged at $12 million.

Arlo Oviatt, D’Arcy svp, group creative director, said that since Chupa Chups will be more “findable,” the campaign will allow consumers to discover the candy rather than overmarket it with TV spots. Chupa did not want to lose the hip luster it achieved through guerrilla marketing and celebrity sampling. A possible new tagline: “Entertainment for your mouth,” sources said.

The strategic shift, apparently orchestrated by new distributor M&M/Mars, will move away from the playful salaciousness of Chupa Chups “Oral Pleasure” TV ad via The Richards Group, Dallas. Its sexual innuendo rang true with teens and young adults, but did not have the desired call to action for mothers buying candy for kids.

“Oral Pleasure is not an invalid approach for that part of the target audience, but it’s not the whole story,” said Oviatt. “What you have to do is combine [teens and young adults] and get the kid sister, her aunt and grandma.”

The Richards Group’s “Oral Pleasure” ad—showing men in a vet clinic’s waiting room mesmerized by a woman licking a Chupa Chups lollipop—aired in spot Southwest markets during spring episodes of South Park, Friends and Ally McBeal. National placement, fueled by a $15 million budget, was set for January.

Then the Spanish candy maker struck a deal with Mars that handed the U.S. distribution and marketing duties to the staid candy giant, ending the run of “Oral Pleasure.”

The Mars deal gives Chupa Chups distribution beyond its predominant strongholds in the Carolinas, Florida and the West Coast.