September 6, 2017

2017 Effie-Winner Spotlight: Jolly Rancher, “A New Media Model to Transform a Brand that Sucks”

The North American Effie Awards and ATOMCK have teamed up to present a special interview series featuring winners from the 2017 competition. Alan Hart, managing partner at ATOMCK and host of “Marketing Today,” sat down with these marketers to discuss insights from their Effie-winning work.

In this week’s 2017 Winner Spotlight, Hart spoke with Bill Blubaugh, senior brand director of sweets and refreshments at The Hershey Company, to discuss Jolly Rancher’s “A New Media Model to Transform a Brand that Sucks” campaign, created in partnership with Anomaly.

The campaign developed from a push by The Hershey Company to try new media strategies. The company chose Jolly Rancher to be the brand to explore an untraditional marketing model. Blubaugh had the insight that Jolly Rancher was the candy you ate in boring or sucky situations. Instead of trying to change the brand perception, Blubaugh and his team embraced it. They created a fresh and new idea for the Jolly Rancher brand, called “Keep on Sucking with Jolly Rancher,” which used digital content and online community engagement to refresh and redefine the marketing of the brand.

The campaign was different from what The Hershey Company typically did because it wasn’t solely traditional TV spots but rather a combination of spots and digital content. The new role of advertiser and publisher meant Blubaugh had to tackle the challenge of content creation and manage two-way communication between the consumer and the brand. An animated fruit gang representing the candy flavors was created to share the “Keep on Sucking” motto. But Blubaugh realized the brand couldn’t just show up and expect consumers to buy it. It had to make the experience memorable and motivate consumers to buy. So he embraced communicating with consumers online and discovered Jolly Rancher fans loved being heard. Consumers felt appreciated and showed it in their sentiment and engagement. Their likes, comments and shares proved the new media model was anything but sucky.

“A New Media Model to Transform a Brand that Sucks” by Jolly Rancher and Anomaly took home an Effie in the Media Idea category at the 2017 North American Effie Awards.

The case study video: