A Passionate New Approach For Perugina, After Eight

Look for some renewed excitement surrounding the After Eight, Quality Street, Perugina, and Motta brands now that Nestlé has transferred U.S. distribution responsibilities to Westlake Village, Calif.,-based British Wholesale Imports (BWI).
The brands, all of which originated in Europe, previously were handled by Glendale, Calif.-based Nestlé USA. Recently, however, the company handed responsibility back to Nestlé divisions on the brands’ respective home turfs — the United Kingdom (for After Eight Dark Chocolate Thin Mints and Quality Street twist-wrapped chocolates) and Italy (Perugina gourmet chocolate and Motta, a traditional cake product). Then the European divisions turned over U.S. distribution to BWI effective last month. With support from Nestlé USA, BWI quickly put together a booth at the recent Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, showcasing the brands there with excellent results, reports BWI marketing director, Howie Krakow.
“What we’re interested in doing is getting back to the heritage,” reflects Krakow. In the case of the popular Perugina Baci line, for example, that heritage is love and romance. Baci means kisses in Italian, and the chocolate and hazelnut delicacies come packaged with poetic love notes. Thus, the marketing director points out, “All of our graphics are not so much about candy, but what it’s like to be in love in Italy.”
With all of the brands, he continues, “It’s really about the heritage and the quality and the imagery.”
To that end, he says, BWI will be touting the Italian brands to deli operators because that channel of distribution matches perfectly with their positioning. Meanwhile, however, more mainstream distribution channels including grocery stores, drug stores and club stores — as well as specialty stores — will get plenty of attention as well.
In a bid to create a strong impression at the store level, BWI’s plans include an emphasis on attractively designed and illustrated shippers, which “are a way to have a lot of visual appeal,” continues marketing director Krakow.
The British brands may not be so strongly linked with passion and romance, Krakow notes, but they have a strong emotional heritage as well. As its name suggests, for example, After Eight is a sophisticated chocolate treat, suitable for a late-night indulgence.
Topps to Be Acquired By Eisner's Company
The New York City-based Topps Company has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Company and Madison Dearborn Partners, a private equity firm, in a transaction valued at $385.4 million. Arthur T. Shorin, chairman and CEO of Topps, said the acquisition represents “a change in ownership, not a change in direction” for the company.
“Topps is a wonderful company with a powerful brand portfolio and a rich history,” said Eisner in a statement released at the time of the transaction. “Topps’ management team and employees are the best in the business, and we look forward to working with all of them to grow the company in new and exciting ways,” he continued. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Founded in 2005 by Eisner, The Tornante Company is a privately held company that makes investments in and incubates companies and opportunities in the media and entertainment arenas.
Campfire Marshmallows Are Going to the Circus
Campfire Marshmallows, owned by Doumak Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill., will have some visibility at the circus. The Campfire brand has become a supporter of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey 2007-2008 tour, Doumak announced.
Highlights of the arrangement include program advertising, venue signage and a 90-second circus skit complete with a clown troupe that gets the crowd chanting “Campfire Marshmallows” and tosses 2-ounce bags of the product into the crowd.
Doumak has been a manufacturer of American-style marshmallows since 1921 and markets Fireside and Rocky Mountain marshmallow brands in addition to the Campfire brand, which it acquired from ConAgra in 2003.
Mentos Momentum
Perfetti Van Melle’s Mentos brand has mobilized! Last month a fleet of convertible sports cars bearing 3-D images of the Mentos logo and candies hit the road as part of Perfetti Van Melle’s “Momentum Tour” for 2007.
The tour will visit festivals and fairs throughout the country, where teams of Mentos ambassadors will distribute samples of the mints and invite fans to have their photos taken with the cars.
Tween Boys Give Bazooka Rave Review
Boys ages eight to 12 gave Topps’ Bazooka bubble gum brand — and television commercials supporting it — rave reviews, according to a new trend report from Zandl Group, a research firm that specializes in the teen/tween market.
In Zandl’s 2006 year-end report, Bazooka commercials that aired during the summer of 2006 scored as the favorite commercial among eight- to 12-year-old boys. The commercials featured kids and teenagers in everyday situations offered one thing and rejecting the offer, demanding Bazooka Bubble Gum instead. In addition to scoring big for the commercials, the Zandl Group report found that boys ages eight to 12 also named Bazooka as their favorite bubble gum of 2006.
Dynamic Acquires Bogdon
Salt Lake City, Utah-based Dynamic Confections has acquired a majority stake in Bogdon Candy, the Kansas City, Mo.-based maker of Reception Sticks.
Bogdon has been making Reception Sticks, which are lightly flavored candy sticks dipped in chocolate, since the company was founded in 1945. Members of the Bogdon family have retained an ownership stake in the company.
“Bogdon’s products are unique and are a perfect match with our Kencraft branded Lollipals, Candy Climbers and Bubble Gum Buddies,” said Taz Murray, CEO of Dynamic Confections, at the time of the announcement last month.
Adams & Brooks Honors Brokers
Adams & Brooks Inc. has honored three companies with its annual Broker of the Year awards. 2006 National Broker of the Year recognition went to Tim O’Reilly of Tim O’Reilly Company, Dublin, Ohio. Regional honorees were Evers Heilig, Waukesha, Wis., for the East, and Kahler-Senders Group, Portland, Ore., for the West. Pictured from left are: Liz Denne and Tim O’Reilly of Tim O’Reilly Company, Steve Meisinger of Adams & Brooks, and Pam Feasel, O’Reilly Company.
The All Candy Expo Gets Up Close and Personal
The National Confectioners Association has announced a partnership with technology software developer BDMetrics to create a personalized “my EXPO,” a Web-based tool that will be available to each Expo visitor.
Online registration for the Expo, which will be held in Chicago, Sept. 17-19, 2007, opened last month. As buyers register for the show, they will receive an email with a personalized report detailing the companies they may want to visit and conference sessions that might be beneficial. This information will be based on the selections each buyer outlines when he or she registers.
Also premiering at the show is SmartBooth, a lead-generating tool for exhibitors. It’s a suite of web-based prospecting tools that lets exhibitors know a buyer’s level of interest in the products they have to offer and enables them to directly reach prospects before, during and after the event.
For more information on registering or attending the Expo, visit www.allcandyexpo.com.
Candy Veteran Charles Edwards Cultivates a ‘Retirement’ Career
Confectionery industry veteran Charles Edwards has retired from Quality Candy Co., where he had served as special accounts manager. His career in candy spanned more than four decades, primarily with Bobs Candies of Albany, Ga., where he rose to the rank of vice president of sales, a position he then held until Bobs closed its doors in April 2001.
Charles and his wife, Lynn Edwards, then joined Quality Candy Company, where Lynn is continuing to work as special accounts manager. Of his years at Bobs, Charles looks back with special pride on having helped develop the company’s flavored candy canes and making a national item of the Soft Pure Sugar Candy.
Don’t expect Charles to take a restful approach to retirement! He plans to turn his 30-year passion for gardening into a new business venture, raising flowers and selling bulbs to gardening aficionados, starting first on E-Bay. He will focus primarily on daylilies, amaryllis and spiderlilies. Initially, he is devoting at least a half acre of the grounds of the home he and Lynn share in Leesburg, Ga., to the effort, but eventually he hopes to expand his flower-growing venture to another four to six acres.
Stay in touch with Charles by emailing him at