The Birth of White Mystery Airheads (and What It Taught Me)

Airheads White Mystery package
(Reading Time: 7 minutes)

It was early 1993.  I was less than a year out of college, and the Assistant Brand Manager of Airheads candy.  (A title that no doubt made my parents very proud.)

After the successful launch of Blue Raspberry Airheads in August 1992, we were searching for the next new flavor to add to our lineup.

We took all the standard steps – reviewing category sales data, reading trade magazines, meeting with flavor suppliers, etc.

And taking the standard steps, unsurprisingly, resulted in a list of the usual suspects.

Continue reading “The Birth of White Mystery Airheads (and What It Taught Me)”

Observations From the Sweets & Snacks Expo

Observations From the Sweets & Snacks Expo


(Reading Time: 4 minutes)Last week, the Sweets & Snacks Expo, the country’s largest confections trade show, was held here in Chicago.

It struck me that I’ve been attending candy trade shows for 22 years now (oof!): Since starting my career managing the Airheads brand, then overseeing brands like Trolli and Brach’s, and consulting with several confectionery companies.

While walking the Sweets & Snacks Expo show floor, I made a few observations, all applicable well beyond the world of candy: Continue reading “Observations From the Sweets & Snacks Expo”

Want What Nike Has? You Gotta Earn It.


(Reading Time: 4 minutes)At a recent branding seminar, I asked attendees what they hoped to achieve with their branding efforts. One guy exclaimed, “I want what Nike has – instant name recognition!” Around the room, many heads nodded in agreement.

Over the years, I’ve asked clients, prospects and colleagues that question hundreds of times, and a fair percentage of replies are along those lines. Maybe it’s Starbucks or Target instead of Nike; maybe they want their brand to be a “badge” or have “a logo everyone knows.”

So why do so few brands achieve those results? Because most brands don’t earn them. They want the quick fix. They want to play it safe. Or they want something for nothing. Continue reading “Want What Nike Has? You Gotta Earn It.”