Candy Corn Defies the Norms of Marketing

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. As the leaves turn, I know it’s that time of year for candy corn. When I was a young girl, come October and November, my candy corn loving Grandmother and Aunt would put out a covered candy dish filled with candy corn and I would have some with them.

I share this memory as nostalgia/tradition is key for the success of candy corn sales and part of the reason why leading candy corn maker, Brach’s, defies normal product marketing. Last year, Brach’s brought in $75 million from the sales of 30 million pounds of candy corn, according to consumer research firm Circana.

The second key to successful sales is organic social media and pop culture raising awareness of candy corn each year due to National Candy Corn Day, October 30th, and the yearly debate of those who love vs. those who don’t like candy corn. This year, Philadelphia Eagles’ Jason Kelce and his brother debated the topic on two episodes of their New Heights podcast. On the flip side, US Magazine noted that Ariel Winter (Modern Family), Kerry Washington (Scandal), and Kevin Durant (NBA star) enjoy candy corn.

While the nation debates candy corn, Brach’s chooses to take the high road and does not chime in on the viral debate that provides their candy with a lot of seasonal exposure. Instead, Brach’s marketing efforts for the controversial corn is low key and organic with one or two posts each year. For example, Brach’s partnered with Michelle Williams, formerly of Destiny’s Child, for a promotional song that debuted on Instagram last year.

This year, Brach’s is focused on further engaging with the 62% of Americans who enjoy eating candy corn. How did they do this? By launching a Candy Corn Club through a traditional media relations and marketing campaign where those who love their product can sign up and have access to candy corn year round.

For many brands, this kind of success without an in-depth multi-medium marketing communications plan will only ever be something they could dream about.

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