- Hershey Co. brand Jolly Rancher this week unveiled a line of jewelry that resembles the hard candy and gave them out to fans via social media sweepstakes, according to a press release. The goal was to rescue candy fans from the "suckiest of situations" of finding a gift for a loved one just days before Valentine's Day.
- From Feb. 12-13, consumers were encouraged to share their gift-giving nightmares on Twitter by tweeting to Jolly Rancher's account and including hashtags #ValentinesDaySucks and #Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of the special-edition jewelry pieces.
- The company collaborated with designers Mary Ping and Fabrice Covelli to create the special collection of necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings that feature a large plastic Jolly Rancher gem. The jewelry line is the epitome of a Valentine's Day gift, per the release: "big, a bit cliché and sparkly."
Jolly Rancher's #ValentinesDaySucks campaign is a fun contrast to the mushy, romantic chocolate and jewelry ads that tend to cloud consumers' screens around the love-themed holiday. Humor and sarcasm are often winning marketing strategies for companies looking to drive engagement on social media, especially among millennials and Gen Zers who are already familiar with social sweepstakes. Jolly Rancher is taking that a step further by giving people an outlet for commiserating over their nightmarish relationship stories and get a good laugh at the cheeky posts by Jolly Rancher.
The company is elevating the humor on social media by posting photos of real models wearing the faux-candy jewelry with comical messages like, "jewelry: a great way to start or end a relationship" and "the romantic gesture that she will think is 'okay,'" as well as the promotion's hashtag #KeepOnSucking. Many marketers have found success with sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek social media efforts. Fast-food chain Wendy's is particularly adept at this through taking jabs at its competitors via Twitter at the encouragement of followers.
With its last-minute gift idea of candy gem jewelry, Jolly Rancher is the latest brand to launch quirky, holiday-themed brand products. Marketers are using these goofy items to drum up brand interest around key events like holidays and annual events. The most successful ones are relevant to both the brand and event, such as Stove Top's stuffing-patterned, high-waisted stretchy pants they offered and sold out of ahead of Thanksgiving last year.
This week, KFC handed out chicken-scented scratch-and-sniff cards, along with a series of themed GIFs featuring Colonel Sanders and buckets of fried chicken surrounded by silly love-themed messages. Marketers of non-traditional Valentine's Day products have been getting in the game over the past few years by creating humorous campaigns that poke fun at the holiday that many consumers perceive as sappy and over-the-top. Wingstop, for example, launched a dedicated hotline for "saucy" love advice and kit to make a DIY wing bouquet, along with a digital spot showing a woman caring more about a box of wings than an engagement ring.