Perfetti van Melle’s Marta Ballesteros on why Chupa Chups is performing ‘phenomenally well’

How has the year been so far for you guys?

We have been very busy putting several new deals on the tracks for Mentos, Chupa Chups, Frisk and Airheads. We are particularly excited about an agreement with Citroën in France. This summer the company will launch a limited edition of C1 cars with a communication campaign inspired by the fresh appeal of Mentos.

Our personal care ranges of Chupa Chups are working phenomenally well across all markets from Europe to Asia to the USA. We have high expectations of the new bath and body products that have been launched at the Cosmoprof trade fair this spring, which are a great match with the brand because they have been developed with the characteristic aroma profile of Chupa Chups.

How important is the food and beverage category to you?

The food and beverage category has become a key objective of our licensing program in Europe and the US. The market is now very receptive to co-branded products of renowned brands that can introduce innovative and surprising products.

After the successful introduction of Chupa Chups and Airheads in the frozen novelty sector, we have realised that our visual identity and flavours translate perfectly well into ice cream and we are now exploring new opportunities in the dessert, bakery and drink categories. Our brands can bring their popular and intense flavour profiles to these products, as well as their playful and fun character.

Are there any new partnerships you can shout about in the food and beverage arena?

We are very excited at the prospect that our fans will be able to try Chupa Chups Calippo Shots: our most recent launch with Unilever that will be available this summer in their Out–of-Home channel across several European markets. Both Calippo Shots and Chupa Chups have a strong heritage in refreshment, with a mutual passion for colour and vibrancy. This natural relationship has taken the flavour identity of Chupa Chups and the packaging ingenuity from Unilever Calippo Shots to create a truly exciting range.

In the US we are now developing an innovative concept for a range of Airheads flavoured freeze bars with market leader Jelsert, which will hit the shelves in spring 2017.

What licensing deals do you have in the pipeline for Chupa Chups?

With Chupa Chups we keep expanding our characteristic colourful and fun style, this time to new fashion deals with popular underwear retailers and on trend editions with leading cosmetic groups, which we will reveal soon. We are working on new designs with our global fast fashion licensees for next year’s spring season. The brand is also quickly conquering the US market, where the first beauty range is being shipped into key retailers such as Claire’s and Walmart.

What about your Airheads brand? What can we expect to see from that property in the licensing space?

Airheads is at a particularly sweet moment. This year the brand celebrates its 30th anniversary and many events and promotions have been planned that will make it unforgettable. In this memorable year, the brand has teamed up with the convenience store 7-Eleven and the fast food restaurant Taco Bell, for a special edition of an Airheads Xtreme ice drink.

To top it off, this June IT’Sugar, the US’s most popular candy destination will open an Airheads corner in all of its stores across the nation with an amazing range of tops, bottoms, accessories and special Airheads candy offers.

What else do you have planned for the year ahead? 

We are presently working on an art project for Chupa Chups with an irreverent UK pop artist on his unique interpretation of our icons. His surprising mix of ideas will be revealed at the Brand Licensing show where it will no doubt stir emotions and catch the attention. This artwork will allow a totally new fashion approach to create retail experiences and inspire lifestyle categories. But that’s all I am allowed to tell you for now.

Do you have any other licensing initiatives going on?

In Japan, we have a local jewel brand of power mints called Frisk. We have recently started a licensing program for this brand aimed at an adult male target with a premium character, in line with the brand image. It is kicking off really well with several partners for toiletries and apparel, capitalising on Frisk’s equity of freshness. Japan has always been one of our best performing markets for Chupa Chups and it is very rewarding to see that we can also build a program there with a brand with a totally different identity.

Anything else you’d like to add? 

For Chupa Chups we are discussing several co-branding projects with renowned characters and properties that are ideal for dual lifestyle opportunities that can stand out on the shelves. With our Asian partners we are working on new seasonal events – Chupa Chups is always a guarantee to spark the fun and pep up the colour at any occasion.

On a design level we are creating new artwork to develop innovative products for kids and babies, such as toys and nursery items. Today’s millennial mummies have grown up with Chupa Chups, and we have really cute designs to develop sweet baby products with. Chupa Chups is also great to inspire craft toys, or recipe ideas to experiment in the kitchen.

Another category that we are actively exploring is the helmet category, as we are looking to replicate on an international scale the huge success we had with the motor helmets with the iconic wrapper design in Spain. Just imagine a street full of ‘lollipops on wheels’.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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