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IT'SUGAR builds brand on boldness

News, 05 October 2016

AMELIA ISLAND, FL: IT'SUGAR, the candy retailer, has successfully engaged the young adult audience with a bold strategy that includes everything from provocatively named products to adopting an unapologetic brand positioning.

Lauren Fleischer, IT'SUGAR's Director/Marketing, discussed this topic at the 2016 Shopper Marketing Conference held by the Brand Activation Association (BAA), a unit of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

More specifically, she referenced the company's "Camel Balls" bubble gum and "Eat Me" range of candies, apparel and gifts as exemplifying its distinctive philosophy.

"It's very easy, as a candy store, just to say, 'I'm going to sell everything that Walmart sells.' But that wasn't good enough, especially if we're going after a unique customer and trying to build a unique experience," Fleischer said. (For more strategic details, read Warc's exclusive report: How IT'SUGAR built a bold (and slightly risqué) candy brand.)

"I don't know if I want to give that to a six-year-old. But would a 17-year-old appreciate that? Absolutely."

The bold approach that informs how IT'SUGAR names its own-label offering equally applies to in-store and window displays, according to Fleischer.

"For us, if we go through a season and we don't have anyone complaining about what's on our windows, we have a problem," she said.

"While we're not doing something to piss people off, we definitely would rather people hate our brand than think nothing about us at all."

In a similar vein, IT'SUGAR's packaging frequently include claims suggesting its products are "100% Gluten" or contain "extra fat" – statements that exemplify its frivolous brand character, not genuine facts.

"We really want to play with: Why are the rules of society so strict? Why can't we all just enjoy a candy store for a few minutes," Fleischer said.

An equivalent logic has informed its introduction of oversized products like Hershey bars and a pack of Reese's Cups weighing a pound apiece, or a 1.5-pound box of Nerds.

"The thought is if we have to sell these well-known brands that everyone is going to offer, we might as well sell the biggest bag of Twizzlers you've ever had," she said. "This category of candy has really taken off."

Data sourced from Warc