- Starburst is releasing a Halloween costume of the Little Lad character that appears in a 2007 ad for its Berries & Creme candies, per a press release. The ad and character went viral on TikTok in August, with #berriesandcream eventually notching more than 1.2 billion views.
- Consumers who use the original "Berries and Creme" song in a TikTok video and tag with #StarburstLittleLad and #Sweepstakes will be entered into a drawing to win a Little Lad costume. The Mars Wrigley brand will give out 20 costumes, which include a bobbed wig, oversized jacket with collar and cuffs, pantaloons and socks.
- Starburst is looking to tap into interest in a 14-year-old ad that has gone viral on TikTok, an increasingly crucial platform for reaching younger consumers, with a social media contest well-timed for a key candy-buying period ahead of Halloween. The contest started on Sept. 30 and runs until Oct. 7.
Starburst is no doubt as surprised as anyone that its offbeat "Bus Station" ad for its Berries & Creme flavor has gone viral in 2021, but such is the nature of TikTok and its user base. By running a sweepstakes on the platform, the Mars Wrigley brand can tap into interest around the original ad's song, dance and Little Lad character, which have been used by TikTokers to joke about their own anachronistic hair and clothing styles.
Giving away a Little Lad costume is a well-timed reward as consumers prepare for Halloween. After the coronavirus pandemic curtailed activities like parties and trick-or-treating in 2020, this year's holiday is expected to return in full force, despite the continuing spread of the delta variant. Consumer spending on Halloween-related items is expected to reach an all-time high, with candy sales hitting $3 billion, per a National Retail Federation survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.
With consumers expecting to buy so much candy for Halloween, this month will be crucial for Starburst. The Mars Wrigley brand has been active lately, promoting self-care with an All Pink 30-day challenge calendar and teaming with Nutrabolt for a Starburst-flavored C4 Energy drink. These efforts, and the Little Lad costume giveaway, are tied to Starburst's playful, positive brand image.
"As part of a business that takes pride in delivering better moments and more smiles, we love that our Starburst Berries and Creme advertisement is still bringing joy to fans more than a decade later," Justin Hollyn-Taub, senior director of US fruit snacks for Mars Wrigley, said in a press release.
Several brands have sought to tap into viral interest on TikTok in order to engage with younger consumers that have flocked to the platform. Most notably, Ocean Spray last year teamed with TikTok creator Nathan Apodaca after a video went viral of him skateboarding while lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" and sipping from a bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry. Arby's and Chevrolet have also turned viral moments into marketing efforts.