Marketing Tools & Tactics They Don’t Teach You In School: Ferrara Candy Co.

Marketing Tools & Tactics They Don’t Teach You In School: Ferrara Candy Co.


Date: February 26, 2021
Tags: #ferrara-candy-company #industry-insights-at-home
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Ferrara Valentine's Day branding

This Week’s Industry Insights at Home Spotlight with Ferrara Candy

While my classroom education has done a great job teaching me the basics of marketing and promotions, the Industry Insights at Home sessions are starting to open my eyes to the real-world marketing tools & tactics of how these programs are created and executed by major brands throughout the US.

I plan to blog on a number of these sessions, but with each session I watch, I am gaining a better understanding of the who/what/when/where/why and how of the partnership-marketing world… essentially, the marketing tools & tactics that major brands employ to create successful marketing partnerships.

This blog is the first in a series in which I’ll offer a will break down how specific industries and brands that take advantage of entertainment, brand, and non-profit partnerships, what those programs deliver to each partner, and how each session offers information that you just can’t attain through typical classroom settings.

Industry Insights sessions explain how everything comes together to make that happen for one of the biggest confection’s companies in the U.S. Here’s what I learned:

Ferrara Candy Company’s Industry Insights Session

My school, the University of South Carolina, has a very highly-rated business program, but there have been invaluable teachings learned through my internship and the Industry Insights at Home series.

Ferrara Candy Company is an undisputed leader in sweet snacking with a portfolio that includes recently acquired brands: SweeTARTS, Nerds, Now & Later, Laffy Taffy, Trolli Brach’s, Mother’s Cookies, Keebler and many more!

It is key to understand how Ferrara views partnerships and why they are important to their confections business. Ferrara has a huge portfolio and partnerships help them connect their brands with new consumers and strengthen their relationships with existing customers.

Understanding marketing tools & tactics starts with understanding the company's brands
The breadth of Ferrara’s brands on full display.

Because Ferrara understands how important partnerships are in the candy industry, they treat partners like family. As mentioned in the presentation, Ferrara doesn’t believe in throwing a logo on a bag and calling it a day. They instead spend time with their partners to come up with mutually beneficial promotions that draw in new segments of customers while reinforcing their strong brand loyalty.

What They Have Done in the Past

Past examples of congruent partnerships include Ferrara Wonder Woman Golden Rope with Warner Bros. The partnership took the popular Ferrara candy brand SweeTARTS and transformed not only the packaging but the candy itself. SweetTARTS went from a semi-hard small circular tart to a long, soft, chewy golden rope that infused different flavoring from the original confection. The theatrical partnership with Warner Bros. was a complete 180 from the original SweeTARTS concept, showcasing Ferrara’s ability to innovate and remain nimble in order to deliver for their partners.

Wonder Wonder 84 Golden Ropes Packaging
WW Golden Ropes tie-in with SweetTarts

Another showcased example of past programs, this time a gaming partnership, was between Trolli sour gummy worms and PlayStation. Through intensive research, Ferrara discovered that over 70% of households have at least one “gamer.”

Trolli Sour Gummy Worms x PlayStation Packaging
Trolli and PlayStation’s partnership.

Over a quarter of those households have a gamer younger than 18 years old. With data in-hand and a plan to reach younger audiences, Ferrara partnered with PlayStation to create a new video game called “Deliciously Dark Escape.”

The specially-marked packaging of Trolli x Playstation utilized QR codes, allowing consumers to snag to get a free 14-day pass to PlayStation Plus. The partnership between the two brands saw increased sales in Trolli and more members on Play Station Plus. Win-win!

How Ferrara Decides Who to Partner With

Ferrara is nimble in this area, but has set guidelines related to who they choose to partner with. As previously mentioned, Ferrara is not looking just to slap a logo on packaging and call it a good promotion.

Ferrara is very straight forward for what they want out of a partner.
Partnership guidelines.

They take into consideration many different factors when looking for strategic partners, as you can see above. While all aspects are important, Authentic Connection, Partner Support, and Brand Awareness are some of the most important aspects to Ferrara when evaluating what a successful partnership is to the company.

How Ferrara Activate Partnerships

Ferrara knows that a good marketing partnership doesn’t stop after a deal has been struck or a product has been made.

The Keebler activation is a multi-faceted process that includes social media, POP displays, and celebrity endorsement.
It’s critical to connect the consumer experience via multi-channel support…

Activation is the key to getting increased value from the partnership, and the company can do this in several ways.

  • Traditional P.O.P stands
  • TV Spots
  • Social media
  • Celebrity partners
Marketing Tool & Tactics: Cultural Influencers generate organic interest
… and of course, you have to create a buzz!

What’s Next for Ferrara?

As the long, cold winter starts to melt away, Ferrara has its eyes set on their 2022 marketing calendar. Marketing partnerships and promotions take many months to finalize, so brands and marketers have to always be forward-thinking.

Knowing Ferrara's calendars are key marketing tools & tactics
Key calendar timing is critical to build successful partnerships and promotions.

Ferrara provided guests of the Insights at Home session their 2022 key marketing windows so attendees had all the information they needed to provide informed pitches and brainstorming ideas for the company.

With a multitude of brands in their portfolio that often have very specific audiences, it becomes critical that other brands understand key promotional windows. This way, they’re on the same page as Ferrara when it comes to timely and successful executions and activations.

In conclusion…

Industry Insights On-Demand sessions go a long way towards provides the five W’s (+1) that companies use to make decisions: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.

Why the demographics and trends matter? Who is the target segment? Where can each company position itself in the market? What companies look for in a partner? When are the key calendar times for specific brands and initiatives? How do these programs come together?

After the hour-long Insights at Home Ferrara session (or the 30-minute On-Demand replay), I learned more about marketing partnerships than I did in four years of school. I used to think that candy is candy and that’s it.. slap a logo on it and call it a day. Nope.

There is so much that goes behind every partnership, but step one to any great promotion is to understand the brand’s marketing tools & tactics. Every little detail counts: the time it takes to ID a target segment, the consideration in finding the right partner, and finally activating the promotion.

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About the The L.A. Office & the Industry Insights at Home Series

The L.A. Office and MarketingPartnerships.com produce a number of events that strengthen the connections and relationships between the brand and entertainment marketing communities.

While the bulk of our services are designed for professionals in the marketing community, Industry Insights On Demand allows students to gain a greater understanding of key marketing tools & tactics, real-world partnerships & promotions, as well as enhance their knowledge of the marketing space within several various industries.

MarketingPartnerships.com for Students

While our services are traditionally geared for business executives, MarketingPartnerships.com/students was built specifically with students and educators in mind.

Student Membership provides FULL ACCESS to all the content and privileges on Marketing Partnerships, including our Industry Insights On Demand series. MarketingPartnerships for Students contains over 25 years of partnership marketing research, showcasing thousands of partnerships for students to further understand the real world of marketing. Get more information here.

If you are an educator interested in providing access for your students, please reach out to us.

Posted by: Andrew Gormley

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