PR and Marketing Campaign to Reinvigorate Consumer Interest in an Iconic Candy Brand: NECCO Sweethearts®

PR and Marketing Campaign to Reinvigorate Consumer Interest in an Iconic Candy Brand: NECCO Sweethearts®

Client: New England Confectionery Company

Project: PR and Marketing Campaign to Reinvigorate Consumer Interest in an Iconic Candy Brand: NECCO Sweethearts®


  • Develop innovative digital marketing, social media and media relations programs to launch new and exciting product extensions, and create year-round relevancy for Sweethearts, a Valentine’s Day-only candy for 142 years.
  • New products included the first Red, White and You Sweethearts program with the United Service Organizations (USO) during summer, and Twilight Saga-themed Sweethearts created through a partnership with Summit Entertainment.

Biggest Challenges:

  • Convincing the media to write about Sweethearts at times throughout the year other than Valentines Day, when they are accustomed to covering the brand.
  • Reaching the core mom audience with news of different Sweethearts offerings, while also creatively reaching new consumer groups who don’t normally think about Sweethearts when making candy purchases (other than Valentine’s Day).6a00d834522d6069e200e54fdb92a28833-800wi-1

Winning Strategies:

  • Publicized the Sweethearts brand’s Three Star Sponsorship and cause marketing program with the USO, as well as the concept of using Red, White & You Sweethearts as an opportunity for Americans to say “Thank You” to U.S. troops.
  • As part of the program, New England Confectionery Company donated Sweethearts for every Operation USO Care Package sent from June through August.
  • Candies were printed with heartfelt sayings like “Miss You,” “Brave One” and “Home Safe.”
  • Contracted with and conducted media training with a crafts expert to show moms and kids ways to create patriotic party treats and gifts during the red, white and blue holidays from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
  • Encourage people to go online to the USO/Sweethearts Web site and sponsor care packages for the troops with Red, White and You Sweethearts.
  • Conducted short- and long-lead media outreach; promoted the launch through a Facebook Fan Page and Twitter handle; and pitched the story to bloggers and online military media.
  • Focused messaging on the fact that made-in-the-USA Sweethearts are a part of Americana and a perfect way to say something sweet to U.S. troops in support of their sacrifices all over the world.
  • Conducted a blogger outreach program, which involved researching and pitching more than 30 key bloggers to fan the flames of excitement for the new Twilight-themed Sweethearts products.
  • Collected and distributed photos and content from the Sweethearts brand’s attendance at TwiCon events for fans to view.
  • Used social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to have one-on-one conversations with Twilight fans to survey them about packaging preferences as well as flavor choices for future product extensions.


  • Secured coverage for Red, White & You program on the Today Show, in Redbook, Parents Magazine, Teen Girl, military magazines, on,, online blogs and news sites, and in regional papers such as The Boston Globe.
  • Leveraged notable events like President Obama and the Super Bowl winning Pittsburgh Steelers stuffing USO care packages on Capitol Hill with Red White & You Sweethearts.
  • Helped Sweethearts and the USO generate sponsorships of thousands of care packages featuring Red, White & You Sweethearts from the public.
  • Created a groundswell of interest and sales for the Twilight-themed Sweethearts, which led to resellers posting the $2.99 product on eBay for as much as $35 per box.
  • Garnered impressions on the AOL Food section and MTV’s Buzzworthy blog, as well as posts by blogger Perez Hilton and celebrity Ryan Seacrest.

Learn more about our consumer services here.