You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Business

  • Consumer confidence leaps to 90s
    U.S. consumers are more confident about the economy than they have been in nearly seven years.The Conference Board said Tuesday that its confidence index rose to 90.9 in July from an upwardly revised ...
  • Local GM cancels 4 shifts
    A lack of parts has forced officials at General Motors Co.’s Allen County truck assembly plant to cancel at least four shifts this week.But workers will have to make up the unexpected time off.G ...
  • 1 in 3 Americans in trouble with debt collectors
    More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.These consumers fall behind o ...
Advertisement
Associated Press photos
Gail Counterman adjusts a Peeps box as it moves through the manufacturing process. A quirky new ad capitalizes on the confection’s place in pop culture.

As Peeps age, candy lovers grow fonder

Roger Hildebeitel inspects Peeps at the Just Born candy factory in Bethlehem, Pa. The Easter treat is 60 years old.

– It’s Easter morning. A boy rouses his younger brother, and they run to the living room to find their baskets filled with – what else? – Peeps.

“Peeps are THE candy of Easter,” the excited boy tells his wide-eyed sibling, who pops a yellow marshmallow chick in his mouth.

“You can eat ’em, smash ’em, microwave ’em, deep-fry ’em, roast ’em on a stick,” the boy explains. That’s not all. You can make “historically accurate Peeps dioramas ... Peeps pop art ... You can make a Peeps topiary.” On he goes, all day and night. “Peeps jousting ... hide-and-go Peeps ... Peepshi ... that’s sushi made out of Peeps.”

As the storied candy brand celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, Peeps’ first TV ad in a decade captures an essential truth about the spongy confection made of sugar, corn syrup and gelatin: Love them or hate them, people do all sorts of things with Peeps.

And they’re not shy about sharing.

“Everyone seems to have a Peeps story,” says Ross Born, third-generation operator of Just Born Inc., which hatches 5 million Peeps a day at its plant 60 miles north of Philadelphia.

Just Born calls it the “Peepsonality” of consumers who buy Peeps not only to eat but also to play around with.

“If you had asked me about this 25 years ago, I would have been rather bewildered about the whole thing,” Born confesses. “We were candy makers.”

Not that he’s complaining. Just Born had its best year financially in 2012.

Long associated with Easter, Peeps have penetrated the pop-culture consciousness in a way that other candy brands have not.

Aficionados send chicks into battle in a microwave “sport” known as Peeps jousting. They enter Peeps art contests, dozens of which are held around the country this time of year. They innovate recipes like “Peepza,” a desert pizza. They write cheeky blog entries with titles like “101 Fun Ways to Torture a Peep.”

Hoping to capitalize, Just Born recently opened three Peeps & Company retail stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Minnesota.

While the company churns out more than 1 billion Peeps this Easter season – a record – it sees the 60th anniversary as another marketing opportunity and a chance to connect with its fans via social media.

In addition to the TV ad campaign, it’s promoting a Facebook survey that asks knowing questions like this one: Do you like your Peeps fresh, frozen, or “aged to perfection”?

Advertisement