Jelly Belly fans quench their thirst with draft beer-flavored candies

Candy company Jelly Belly launched its new draft beer-flavored jelly bean in early 2014 with a big push through St. Patrick's Day.

Organization: Jelly Belly (Fairfield, California)
Duration: January 2014-present
Budget: Approximately $12,000

Candy company Jelly Belly launched its new draft beer-flavored jelly bean in early 2014 with a big push through St. Patrick’s Day. The new flavor was a closely guarded secret, and had been in development for three years.

Strategy
Jelly Belly scheduled the unveiling around major trade shows to maximize exposure, engaged in direct outreach to national media and bloggers, including Jackie Dodd, who runs thebeeroness.com, and brought the new jelly bean to consumers through sampling.

Tactics
To reach stakeholders, the company leveraged social media platforms. It produced behind-the-scenes YouTube videos and published Jelly Belly recipes to create a beer cocktail. The company also pitched media and utilized Facebook for fan engagement. The jelly bean was launched in real time on social media at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.

"Most people assume our audience is children, but it is actually adults," says Tomi Holt, director of communications.

Results
Holt says the launch tapped into the exploding craft beer category and "brought a lot of new fans to the brand."

The effort garnered 490 broadcast hits, including Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the Late Show with David Letterman, as well as articles in The Huffington Post, USA Today, Today.com, Yahoo News, and ABCNews.com.

Draft beer jelly beans sold out on JellyBelly.com in five days and in five brand-owned stores within two weeks of launch. At the height of the effort, when media coverage was at its peak, daily likes to Jelly Belly’s Facebook page increased by an average of 220%, says Jana Perry, PR media specialist at the candy company.

Future
Jelly Belly is working on long-lead pieces throughout the summer and has plans for Father’s Day to promote the "manliest" flavors on social media.

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