- Kool-Aid's iconic brand mascot will visit the homes of fans in select cities as part of a reverse trick-or-treating campaign timed around Halloween, according to an announcement shared with Marketing Dive.
- The character known for busting down walls will deliver Scary Berry Jammers drink pouches, Ghoul-Aid Scary Berry popping candy and Kool-Aid Man costumes to contest winners. Visits will be determined through a sweepstakes run through the brand's Twitter account.
- Some families will receive prize-filled kits, with a select few delivered by the Kool-Aid Man himself. The Kraft Heinz-owned label is the latest in a string of snack and candy brands to try and make the most of a Halloween season that has been turned on its head by COVID-19.
Kool-Aid's Halloween promotion mirrors one being run by Mondelez's Sour Patch Kids, which will also feature brand characters delivering candy to select houses in cities around the country. Hershey's Reese's brand also recently unveiled a remote-controlled spooky door that will travel through neighborhoods delivering sweets when trick-or-treaters approach.
The pandemic has put candy companies, for whom the holiday generates about 14% of the sector’s $36 billion in annual sales, in a precarious position. With the Centers for Disease Control recommending against traditional trick-or-treating and lockdown orders varying around the country, marketers must walk a fine line of responsible messaging and encouraging safe practices this year.
A Piplsay poll of more than 30,000 Americans found 46% of parents will allow their kids to go trick-or-treating this year, while 23% are unsure. Regardless, enthusiasm is down, with 41% of respondents saying they were not looking forward to the holiday.
As a result, candy and snack companies have had to get creative with their marketing this year. While some, like Kool-Aid and Sour Patch Kids, are running programs that bring Halloween to consumers' doorsteps, others are embracing the holiday through digital activations. Mars Wrigley launched Treat Town, a mobile app that lets people trick-or-treat in a virtual neighborhood to collect digital coupons that can be redeemed for real-world sweets.
Though it's too soon to tell if the promotions work, candy sales so far have not been hurt by the unconventional holiday. U.S. candy sales in September were up 13% over last year, according to market researcher IRI and the National Confectioners Association.