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Erika Hammer, Vice President

Last week while scrolling through Facebook, one of the many headlines I saw was about conversation hearts. There’s some nostalgia for you (how perfect with nostalgia marketing being a trend these days!). Conversation hearts are a classic candy that’s second nature for Valentine’s Day – as candy corn is for Halloween. The sayings are cheesy, and let’s be honest, it doesn’t taste that good – but everyone expects to come across them in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. 

But – the horror – I learned that the pounds of conversation hearts I’m used to seeing in stores every year would be no longer. The company that made SweetHearts (Necco) went out of business! Not to worry, they were purchased, just not with enough time to produce the stock needed for Valentine’s Day. The article I read went on to warn that any available in stores might be old stock from last year (ew). 

Bad press for SweetHearts, right? Maybe not. Spangler Candy Co. (who purchased SweetHearts) got a lot of press for a brand that had probably been an afterthought for most people. On top of that, they may have also hurt the competition. Another article I read pointed out that SweetHearts weren’t the only game in town. But, I’m sure if people had read about the shortage, they’d tend to just think of “conversation hearts” (and not all the brand specifics). So, might people hesitate if they saw Brach’s conversation hearts on the shelf? Would people wonder if they were year-old candy? I know I would! 

Regardless of the press they may be getting now, it seems that Spangler will have to drum up more press next year. To remind people that the candy they didn’t know they’d miss is now available once again. Or, maybe Brach’s will be able to stir up enough positive press in the next few weeks to unseat SweetHearts as the leader in conversation hearts?

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