Shopper Marketing: UNREAL Candy Celebrates Target Partnership With $10K Sweepstakes

PLAY FOOD — It’s amazing how long a few UNREAL candies can keep a baby amused. Photo credit: Douglas L. (Double click for more candid UNREAL baby pics)

Happiness is… eating candy with your feet?

For this youngster, it’s just as enjoyable to play with UNREAL Candy as it is to eat it. UNREAL began as a family project — a 13-year-old boy asking his dad, “Why does the junk food we love have to be so bad for us?” — so it’s only fitting that the start-up brand’s first photo contest would generate tons of fun family moments.

To celebrate its nationwide distribution in Target Stores, UNREAL is giving away a $10,000 Target shopping spree as the grand prize in its “Unjunk Your 2013 Sweepstakes.” Ten additional winners will receive a year’s worth of UNREAL Candy.

To enter, UNREAL fans need to snap a pic of the candy — or preferably of themselves, family or friends enjoying the candy — and email it or picture-text it to Aside from the customary kids with chocolately faces, shoppers have been getting extremely creative with their contest entries. Here are a few unexpected gems:

1. An UNREAL parakeet.
2. Cute dolls with a preference for candy made without artificial ingredients or preservatives.
3. A unicorn who loves candy that has a low glycemic index.*
4. Spelling the futuristic UNREAL logo with candy-coated chocolates.
5. Balancing UNREAL on a pregnant tummy!
6. UNREAL school teachers.

The asterisked unicorn entry was done by a fan with a chroma key and green screen, an additional effort that’s appreciated but not necessary to enter the contest. The beauty of all Pongr-powered photo contests is that there is a very low “Snap and Send” barrier for participation. No apps to download. No codes to scan.

“Our big challenge is how do you capture taste in a photo?” asks Alan Ringvald, UNREAL Candy’s head of digital and social media. “We’re trying to prove our unjunked candy tastes just as good without any of the bad stuff in it.”

UNREAL has been giving away tons of free candy samples each month, sharing the sweetness at art festivals, street fairs, concerts, sporting events, college campus and 5K races. New York’s recent Jingle Ball concert with Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber was also joined by four UNREAL “Morph Men,” silent Blue Man Group-like creatures who surprised fans with UNREAL treats.

But the next best thing to actually eating candy is showing the world how much fun candy can be — and that’s where the photo contest comes into play.

“Picture sharing is booming,” Ringvald says. “Photos are all about instant gratification, and we’re hoping people will want to share some of their most enjoyable UNREAL moments.”

“The Pongr system is just so easy for our customers to use,” he adds. “It’s streamlined for sharing on Facebook and Twitter and it’s a great way for people to interact up close with the product.”

HERE I AM!  To kick off its distribution of UNREAL, Target has been showcasing the product on end cap displays in all of its U.S. stores. Photo credit: Arnold F. (Double click to see other Target shoppers discovering their favorite candy).

Amidst the piles of smiles being collected in the photo contest, UNREAL is making an astonishing pitch for a consumer brand. The company wants you to enjoy their candy, but not too much of it.

The year’s supply of candy is worth $500, roughly enough for a few bags each week.

“We don’t want people to gorge on candy — any candy, even ours,” says Ringvald. “We want you to unjunk with a reasonable amount.”

That message coincides with the company’s insistence that its customers eat more of nature’s candy, i.e., fruit, on all of its nutritional comparison charts on the Web.

FASHIONABLE CANDY — Fruitella 14′s funky fingernail polish complements UNREAL’s colorful packaging! (Double click for the full Pongr UNREAL Photo Gallery)

UNREAL’s commitment to providing a better candy option makes it a natural pitch to mom bloggers, who are a big part of the company’s promotion effort. Bloggers who are sharing the 2013 Sweepstakes have asked their readers to hashtag their blog name in the Pongr photo gallery.

“We’re a small part of a much bigger movement,” says Ringvald. “We believe in sourcing ingredients responsibly and improving nutrition rather than to sacrifice quality for cost.”

UNREAL has been promoting its Pongr-powered photo contest on its Facebook page and through outreach to mom blogger networks. (Double click for your chance to win before January 20.)

You can find UNREAL Candy at Target, Staples, CVS, Michaels, Market Basket, BJs, Tedeschi Food Shops and other fine stores.

(Hungry? To find the nearest UNREAL Candy retail location, click here.)

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