Luden’s Penny Candy Part II

November 20, 2009 at 7:09 am 2 comments

In the previous post, we heard about William Luden’s problem: how could he distinguish his penny candy from the rest of the competition?

Luden hired a team of investigators to quietly sound the market for him. They fanned out over the streets of Philadelphia, visiting all the places penny candies might be bought or eaten. Who was the penny candy customer? How best to reach that customer, and bring those pennies to Luden? Luden’s team visited the candy counters in the department stores, the retail confectioners, the small candy shops. They canvassed school-yards for a direct impression of children’s views.

Luden’s investigators verified that children were the ones buying the penny candies, and they were buying them in the little candy shops. Grown-ups cared about quality, and when they bought candy in the better stores quality might be a deciding factor. But children buying candy for themselves in the little shops didn’t care about quality. They were looking for the biggest, the most, the brightest, the shiniest. If Luden was going to make any inroads on the basis of quality, he was going to have to persuade the parents.

A new advertising campaign was launched with the explicit aim of appealing to parents’ concerns and their influence. The theme of the campaign juxtaposed the parents’ dollar purchases of grown-up candy with the child’s penny choices: “Your child’s penny is as important to us as your dollar.” Luden suggested that the quality to be had at the higher price could also be had in cheaper goods, if they chose the Luden brand. The new slogan: “Penny Candy made with Dollar Care.”

So kids and parents then weren’t so different from kids and parents today. Parents worry about quality, safety, and health effects. Kids look for “extreme” flavors and colors and shapes. But kids today are less free to go where they want, or to buy what they want. On the other hand, marketing today speaks directly to kids, through TV channels promoting “kid power,” and Web sites, and kids “social networks.” Where candy is concerned, it seems there is likely to be conflict between what parents want for their kids, and what kids want. Do today’s lifestyles and technologies make for more conflict, or less?

Source: “Little Stories of Success: William H. Luden: Standardizing Penny Candy for Children—How the Market Was Won by Addressing Parents.” Candy and Ice Cream Aug. 1915: 10.

Related Posts:

  • Luden’s Penny Candy, 1914 Part I
  • Entry filed under: 1890 to WW I, Heroes and Personalities, Marketing.

    Luden’s Penny Candy, 1914 Part I Thanksgiving Trick or Treat

    2 Comments Add your own

    • 1. Leona  |  November 20, 2009 at 9:19 pm

      I love Bill’s slogan! Did it work? Did he gain fair market share? I guess from reading the title of your reference, it did work… =)

    • 2. Luden’s Penny Candy, 1914 Part I « CandyProfessor  |  November 24, 2009 at 11:10 am

      […] Luden’s Penny Candy Part II […]


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