The Inside Scoop Behind Baskin-Robbins’ Candy

The idea: BestSweet, which manufactures private label cough drops and candy, wanted to step out as a consumer brand company. Simultaneously, hard-candy licensee partner Baskin-Robbins had just rebranded with a new logo, sundae stations and standalone prototype stores, and launched its “Yay!” TV campaign, via Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York. Now that the ice cream shop experience was updated, a candy extension was next. Growth in the nonchocolate chewy candy category and BestSweet’s advances with flavor technology emboldened the Mooresville, N.C., company to develop a soft candy version of Baskin-Robbins’ ice cream flavors. The product hit stores during Q4 2007.

Who will buy it:
Moms. Baskin-Robbins recognized that it had been ambiguously targeted to its core audience in the past. So the Canton. Mass.-based division of Dunkin’ Brands began to refocus with such promotions as serving complimentary soft-serve ice cream to expectant women on Bump Day (May 21). Mom grew up with the “31 Flavors” brand, so BestSweet managers understood they had to leverage that name to get her to pick up the candy treat for herself and her kids. “We had to make sure that once she left the ice cream shop and walked into the grocery store, that the brand experience was seamless,” said Mark Fields, brand manager at BestSweet.

How it was created: BestSweet collaborated with Baskin-Robbins first to develop texture for the soft candy and then the flavors that met mom’s expectations. So Baskin-Robbins’ favorites, including mint chocolate chip and very berry strawberry, had to be in the lineup. Group 360, St. Louis, worked on the package design in conjunction with Flyan Hi Design, Cornelius, N.C. Brown was chosen to signal sugar-free SKUs and teal was selected for the sugar versions. Also, consumer research showed that mothers preferred a resealable bag because if she can’t close the package and tuck it in her purse, she’s not going to buy it.

Why this is significant: Retailers are hungry for sales growth from new items. Ice cream flavored chewy candy is a new category