Candy manufacturer Just Born Inc. is marking its 80th anniversary and the 50th year of its Marshmallow Peeps brand with a new corporate Web site.
Justborn.com is the Bethlehem, PA, company's fourth site, after online hubs for Marshmallow Peeps, Hot Tamales chewy cinnamon-flavored and fruity Zours candies.
“We felt that it was a good way for us, on the occasion of our anniversary, to communicate with our consumers, our customers and our business partners, both current and future, who Just Born is and what we're about,” said Matt Petronio, vice president of marketing at Just Born.
Founded in 1923, Just Born also makes candies such as Mike and Ike and Teenee Beanee jellybeans, though it does not yet have individual sites for those brands.
Created by Imirage Inc., Allentown, PA, justborn.com is positioned as the main online resource for information on the privately held, family-run company. The site features Just Born's history, with a timeline stretching to 1923. Other elements include a newsroom, fun facts, community participation and a factory tour to show how the candies are made.
Justborn.com links to marshmallowpeeps.com, zours.com and hottamales.com. The Hot Tamales site has rich media and features elements of the brand's NASCAR sponsorship. The other two sites are animated, packed with games and facts. The Peeps online fan club already has 10,000 members who get news and updates on the brand.
In a cross-sell sampling move, Just Born is offering 500 samples of Zours daily. The company will give one sample per person in each household once a year.
Justborn.com's creation will enhance collaboration among the various online properties.
“There's an opportunity for them to cross-sell and upsell, and sell some of the products to consumers that had no idea that this company made all these other products,” said Kevin Justice, president of Imirage.
There are no plans for online marketing like banner ads, affiliate programs or e-mails to promote justborn.com. Nor are plans imminent for online gifting stores like its peers.
“We think there's some unique items that are in our portfolio that we might be able to best satisfy the consumer with through the Internet but, right now, we've got no defined plans,” Petronio said.
In that sense, Just Born differs from Hershey Foods, Cadbury Schweppes, Nestle, M&M/Mars and other candy makers. Most of them either started with their corporate sites or simultaneously maintained sites for brands in the portfolio.
“We felt that it was more important to get the brand messages out,” Petronio said. “There was a greater sense of urgency to talk about our brands more so than our corporate communications. We're a privately held company, so we don't have many of the same issues some other companies have in terms of their communications.”