Big Brand Project – Selecting a Brand and Beginning Research

Getting Started

Last week, we formally began our project for the "Big Brand" project, which requires us to explore a single product/service for the remainder of the semester. Since then, we've needed to select our client and commence our research.

In short, I've selected Swedish Fish as my brand. I've been familiar with it for several years, and have been surprised at its overall lack of branding and advertising prowess despite its many years on shelves. I also chose it because I think it might be the kind of project that would allow me to explore illustrative design more, especially as it pertains to packaging and motion graphics pieces, which are areas of intense interest to me.


Secondary Research

I've been a little surprised that I haven't found volumes of information on Swedish Fish, but I've gathered a few facts nonetheless.

Swedish Fish is often classified as a gummy candy, but it's more specifically a wine gum candy, which is slightly firmer and contains slightly different ingredients. Its lack of gelatin is probably the most noteworthy aspect, making Swedish Fish vegetarian-friendly.

It was first introduced in 1957 by Malaco, a Swedish confectionary company and subsidiary of Cloetta (formerly known as Leaf). In the following decades, the candy found its way to candy store shelves and movie theaters, and is still widely considered to be one of those "old-timey" confections.


Sour Patch Kids – A soft, sugar-coated gummy candy manufactured by British company Maynards. There have been many different flavors over the decades. (Based on what I see people my age buy, I think this will be one of the biggest competitors.)

Jelly Babies – British gummy candy created by Bassett's, whose parent company is Cadbury-Schweppes. Since 2007, the brand has switched over to using natural ingredients (but continues to use gelatin).

Jujubes – A genericized brand of gummies that, at least in America, are made by the Ferrara Candy Company. Their texture and consistency differs from country to country, but they're often a firmer gummy. Despite this, they contain gelatin, and don't necessarily qualify as wine gum candy.

Dots – American gum drops that were first introduced by Tootsie Roll Industries in 1945. According to PETA, they qualify as vegan, and Tootsie Roll Industries states that they are gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and kosher. Many flavors and varieties have since been produced, including seasonal, sour, and licorice flavored ones.

Twizzlers – American licorice brand created by Y&S Candies, Inc. in 1845, and owned by the Hershey Company since 1977. Its cherry flavored SKU is one of the oldest confections in the United States.

There are many others, but these are just a few. In theory, chocolates, sour candies, gum, lollipops, and many other kinds of sweets could be competition as well.

Target Audience

Adults aged 18-35 that have an interest in sweets, as well as novelties, other cultures, and new experiences. If given the chance to circumvent the run-of-the-mill lifestyle, they'll seize it.

Primary Research Questions

I've also begun putting together focus group questions that could aid me in qualitative research. Here are just a few of the areas I'd like to cover when talking with people:

• What is your name and favorite candy? Why?
• What kind of value do you place on candy that's harder to obtain?
• Do you have special candies that are reserved for special occasions? What is that like?
• How much candy do you own at any given time? Where do you keep it? How long will you have it?
• How likely are you to share candy with others? Why?
• How much would you consider yourself to be a kid at heart?
• How much would you consider yourself to be nostalgic?
• How health-conscious are you?
• If the following candies were at a party, what would they be doing?

- Skittles
- Twizzlers
- Tootsie Pops
- Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
- Sour Patch Kids
- Mike and Ike
- Jelly Babies
- Nik-L-Nip Wax Bottles
- Swedish Fish
- Circus Peanuts
- Haribo Gummy Bears (Specifically non-sugarfree)
- Trolli Gummy Worms
- Jolly Ranchers
- Dots

Looking Ahead

Within this next week, I plan to produce 100 logo sketches and set up a few focus groups. Busy? Maybe.