Two of Europe's leading confectionery groups, Nestle and Haribo, are to join forces from 2003 to create a new product, Fruity Smarties, which they claim combines the best of both their popular brands.
The Fruity Smarties, set to be launched on the German market in January next year, contain the fruity jelly which Haribo usually puts in its own brand, Goldbaren, but retain the crispy shell - and seven colour varieties - for which Smarties are well known.
While the size, shape and colour of Smarties have been retained, the one thing which has changed is the flavour, with the traditional chocolate centre of Smarties replaced with different jelly flavours - strawberry for the red Smarties, banana for the yellow, and so on.
The sweets will be launched in a resealable 40g pack which will also feature the so-called Smarties Philosophy ('Play first, eat later') and a fun 'taste and search' game. They will also be available in packs of three, and will be sold through traditional confectionery retail channels, in particular the impulse section.
The launch, like any other, will be supported by extensive point-of-sale (POS) material and will also be backed by a television advertising campaign featuring the well-known Smarties characters Smartin and Smartina, who are joined by the Haribo Gold Bear.
Nestle Germany will be responsible for the marketing and distribution of the brand, with Haribo taking charge of the production. Nestle said the two companies had created the product after mutual discussions.
At present, only consumers in Germany and Austria will be able to enjoy the Fruity Smarties, but that is not to say that the product will not be rolled out to other countries at a later date - although Nestle stresses there are no short term plans for such a launch.
Nestle said that there were no other collaborations planned with Haribo, which is perhaps a shame, since the potential for revamping Nestle's brands with a touch of fruity jelly is almost inexhaustible. But sadly we won't be seeing Kit Kat's with orange jelly filling or Lion bars with banana jelly at any time in the immediate future.