On April 30, Bazooka Candy Brands announced that the private investment platform for professional athletes, Patricof Co (P/Co), has invested in the company.

DK Metcalf (Seattle Seahawks), Kylie and Jason Kelce (former Philadelphia Eagles), Deja Kelly (UNC Tarheels), CC Sabathia (former New York Yankees), Flau'jae Johnson (LSU Tigers), Derrick White (Boston Celtics), and Cade Cunningham (Detroit Pistons) are among the list of investors, who remember sweet childhood moments enjoying Bazooka brands like Ring Pop, Push Pop, Baby Bottle Pop, and Bazooka Bubble Gum.

P/Co and the athletes will help fuel Bazooka's growth journey as it stands on its own as an independent company for the first time after being acquired in late 2023 by Funds advised by Apax Partners LLP, a global private equity advisory firm.

Candy Industry Senior Editor Liz Parker talked to Bazooka CEO Tony Jacobs about the investment, and what it means for the company.

Liz Parker: How did Bazooka get Patricof Co. interested in investing in the company?

Tony Jacobs: The athletes we’ve teamed up with are true candy lovers and genuine fans of the company. For many of them, our brands like Ring Pop, Push Pop, and Baby Bottle Pop date back to their childhood. There is a shared passion for fun and entertainment between Bazooka and the athletes we’re partnering with. They are bringing forward unique and contemporary ideas for the business and we can’t wait to bring them to life. 

LP: How will the investment allow Bazooka to further its reach and explore new avenues for innovation?

TJ: Partnering with Patricof Co. and securing investments from top tier athletes like DK Metcalf and Jason Kelce are game-changers for us. This is more than just an investment; it’s a long-term collaboration. We’ll be leveraging the athletes’ equity, tapping into their networks to help reach our key consumer, and brainstorming together around new products.  

LP: Any new campaigns coming up, as well?

TJ: Definitely! To start, we had some of the athletes enter the Bazookaverse – something we call being “Bazookafied.” We created cartoon portraits of them that are inspired by our iconic Bazooka Joe comics. That’s just the start; many new ideas are being worked on now.

LP: What’s new for the brand this year?

TJ: This year, we're focusing more on strategic partnerships and collaborations that elevate our brand to new heights and further engrain us in culture. Our sponsorship of Breakaway Festival is an example of that, where we have a significant activation (including a ride!) and also bring a roster of high profile content creators to document the experience. It's a testament to our commitment to engaging with our audience in meaningful ways and meeting them where they are at. Stay tuned as we continue to forge innovative partnerships that resonate with our audience and push the boundaries of brand experiences!

LP: Anything upcoming for the rest of 2024?

TJ: Looking ahead to the rest of 2024, we have some incredibly exciting campaigns in the pipeline. In Q3 and Q4, keep an eye out for some memorable programs from Baby Bottle Pop and Ring Pop. We also unveiled a new product from the Baby Bottle Pop line at the Sweets & Snacks Expo that's sure to be a fan favorite.