Starburst brings back all-pink packs with meme-ready merchandise
- Mars brand Starburst is re-launching its All Pink packs of candy, this time with a merchandise line featuring the "I am a pink Starburst" meme, a news release announced.
- Starburst collaborated with designer Erin Robertson, winner of season 15 of "Project Runway," on the trendy items, which include T-shirts, pink denim jackets, neon signs and more. The merchandise is available online with items starting at $20 and going as high as $650.
- The candy brand is bringing back its All Pink packs featuring only the pink candies for the second year in a row. The packs will be available for a limited time at stores nationwide.
Starburst is trying to wring the most out of a social media meme, "I am a pink Starburst," that urges people to "never let anyone treat you like a yellow Starburst" — apparently a less favored flavor by fans, whereas pink has developed a devout following online. Memes are, by their definition, popular with consumers, but brands trying to get in on the joke, even when they're directly associated with it, can diminish some of the appeal.
While Starburst also released all-pink packs last year, the creation of limited-edition merchandise this year fits into a broader trend that marketers are embracing to build awareness, heighten social media chatter and test younger consumers' response to e-commerce offerings outside of the standard wheelhouse of food and packaged goods. Robertson's presence lends the collaboration some fashion credentials that could appeal to millennial and Gen Z women — likely a target audience for the campaign. The high price point of the some of the items, including a $140 denim jacket, might be off-putting for notoriously deal-seeking younger consumers, however.
A number of companies have in recent months helped renew interest in the idea of limited-edition brand swag: KFC created an e-commerce store with similarly hip offerings to Starbursts', and Taco Bell in the fall collaborated with the fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 to launch a capsule collection. More recently, Pizza Hut brought back its "Pie Tops" sneakers for March Madness, which use Bluetooth technology to order pizza and pause live TV via buttons on the shoes.