Trolli leans into weird side in campaign to reignite interest in original gummy worm

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

Ferrara reminds consumers of the 'psychedelic, playful, and uniquely identifiable world’ of Trolli gummy worms, created in 1986. Pic: Getty Images / Bloomberg / Contributor
Ferrara reminds consumers of the 'psychedelic, playful, and uniquely identifiable world’ of Trolli gummy worms, created in 1986. Pic: Getty Images / Bloomberg / Contributor

Related tags Ferrara candy Ferrara Gummy Candy Advertising branding

Ferrara Candy Company’s gummy worm debuted more than 30 years ago, but today the brand wants to stand out in a now-crowded field of gummies.

The campaign increases Ferrara’s ad spending on Trolli by 30%, more than it has ever spent on the brand.

Trolli sales have doubled in the past seven years, partly through 'strategic investments' including media and influencer partnerships, Ferrara marketing director Annie Meyer told ConfectioneryNews.

"Given the tremendous growth – and potential – we see with Trolli, we believe it deserves a large, integrated creative platform to elevate the visibility of the brand,"​ she said. "We launched the 'It’s Trolli' campaign as a celebration of our growth and a way to share our brand’s core value of being Weirdly Awesome with even more consumers in a completely different and fun way than in the past."

The timeliness of the launch had less to do with the pending Easter holiday, but rather with recent growth and excitement around the brand.

The ‘psychedelic, playful, and uniquely identifiable world’ hones in on Trolli’s mascot – the troll – and the tension between desiring happiness and being frightened by it.

Wieden+Kennedy, an agency in Portland, Oregon known in part for its work on Bud Light’s ‘Dilly Dilly’ campaign, developed the concept in conjunction with animators Becky Sloan and Joseph Pelling and London’s Blinkink.

One spot features a demon-like troll who sees bright light emanating from a cupboard. He immediately becomes bright and joyous upon opening the cupboard door, where dozens of singing gummy worms​ invite him to join the fun.

The other shows a tree-like troll whose hand gets chomped by gummy worms​, but he finds happiness nonetheless.

"This new marketing campaign delivers on an ownable insight for our brand: Trolli's dash of 'delicious darkness' – through our brand history, black packaging and product origins – is what truly sets the brand apart in what has now become a sea of weird," ​added Meyer.

The 15-second spots, aimed at 'off-beat, irreverent' consumers especially aged 18 to 34 years old, will run online and on television through the end of 2019, accompanied by shorter social-only videos.

Gummies: a category to watch

Ferrara claims to have invented the gummy worm in 1986, shortly after Haribo brought its gummy bear to the US.

Today the classic, two-toned Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers feature flavors like Cherry-Lemon, Strawberry-Grape and Orange-Lime.

Following other candy trends toward tropical and berry flavors, the Very Berry mix includes Raspberry-Blueberry and Strawberry-Blackberry, while the Tropical brings Mango-Orange and Pineapple-Lime. The Fruit & Fire blend taps into the spicy trend with flavors like Cherry-Mango-Habanero and Cherry-Watermelon-Jalapeno.

Sales of non-chocolate confectionery grew 15%​ from 2012 to 2018, according to Mintel, reaching $8bn last year. Chewy candy has benefited those numbers, accounting for more than half of those sales – up 36% from 2012.

Chewy candy product launches also jumped more than 80% during that period. 

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