E-Mails Try to Leave Sour Taste

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Candy manufacturer Just Born Inc. hopes its recent e-mail marketing campaign has left recipients with a sour taste in their mouths.

Just Born, Bethlehem, PA, distributed e-mails to 5,000 consumers in four states last month to promote Zours, its new brand of sour fruit-candy chews. The privately owned, 77-year-old candy maker's more famous brands include Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales and Marshmallow Peeps.

The campaign has so far recorded a click-through rate of 5 percent, said Matt Pye, group product manager at Just Born. The company expects to send out as many as 10,000 free samples as part of a follow-up effort.

The Zours e-mails targeted households with children between the ages of 11 and 17, the core audience that Just Born identified for the new candy. The names were rented from an opt-in e-mail list managed by Etracks, Belmont, CA, an online direct marketer, Pye said. While the e-mails were delivered to the general household addresses, the style and content were geared toward its younger members, Pye said.

The e-mails offered recipients free samples of the sour candy in exchange for registering at Zours.com. The registration page asked the California, Colorado, New York and Pennsylvania target audience for their mailing address and other information.

The 5,000 e-mails also encouraged recipients to enter a "pucker face" photo contest on the Web site, and to pass along the e-mail and candy offer to their friends in hopes of creating a buzz about the product.

"We're hoping for a viral marketing push," said Pye. "Getting samples to our core audience via the e-mail and raising awareness of the new Web site will build to the current excitement."

The Zours site launched two months ago, while a site for Marshmallow Peeps is up and running and a combined site for Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales is under construction.

"We're dealing with a target audience that is very computer-savvy and Web-savvy," said Pye. An online, e-mail launch is a key way in which to reach its "most important audience -- kids," he said.

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