Confectioners looking for sweet PR

The confectionery Manufacturers Association of Canada will unwrap a public relations campaign promoting sugary sweets this fall.The promotion, set for September, is geared towards boosting sales of confectionery products, which have been flat over the past year.Cumulative sales of chocolate, candy...

The confectionery Manufacturers Association of Canada will unwrap a public relations campaign promoting sugary sweets this fall.

The promotion, set for September, is geared towards boosting sales of confectionery products, which have been flat over the past year.

Cumulative sales of chocolate, candy and gum were $1.2 billion in 1992, according to cmac statistics.

cmac President Carol Hochu estimates statistics for 1993, not yet tabulated, will show sales rose marginally to $1.3 billion.

Founded in 1919, the Toronto-based cmac is an umbrella group for chocolate, candy and chewing gum manufacturers and suppliers in Canada.

The public relations campaign will comprise an effort to generate favorable press coverage, together with a national sampling program.

Hochu says the communications approach will be to tell consumers ‘Life is tough, you deserve a treat.’

She says the low cost of confectionery treats will also be emphasized.

Products for sampling will be provided by cmac members, but the campaign will not advertise specific brands.

Hochu says a generic promotion avoids any overlap with campaigns created by the manufacturer.

One of the campaign’s goals is to help its members ride the current consumer trend of responsible indulgence.

Last month, cmac hired Toronto’s Hill & Knowlton to a three-year term as its public relations agency.

Hochu is not daunted by the challenge of convincing Canadians that confectionery products can be part of a balanced diet.

She says consumers are aware that it is okay to eat nutrition-free food strictly for pleasure, although she admits there are always going to be some who say confectionery snacks are high in fat and calories.

But, she says, many people are convinced now that snacking is part of a healthy diet, especially since the newest Canada Food Guide states that eating for enjoyment instead of nutrition is acceptable.