It’s An Underdog Peep Show In D.C.

July 13, 2009 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

Today is a big day for one of our favorite underdogs, and probably one of yours too. In truth, they’re really not that big an underdog, but most of the time they seem like one. Considering most of us really only think about them around the holidays, and even then one package at a time, it’s hard to think of Just Born as a big dog, but they are. Or maybe more accurately, a whole lot of little yellow marshmallow chickens in the shape of a very big dog.

On July 10, Just Born, the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania candy company who makesMarshmallow Peeps, announced they are opening their first retail store at a hugeWashington, D.C. mall called National Harbor where they will sell not only candy, but apparel, souvenirs, gifts and fun. Now if you’re like us, at first blush you may be asking yourself how 10 cent marshmallow chickens who seemingly only come out at Easter could support that kind of real estate. And that would be a good question, if it wasn’t so woefully misinformed.
Peeps, it turns out, aren’t just for Easter anymore. In fact, the brand has one of the largest cult followings in America. While they started and certainly got famous selling the little neon-yellow Easter chicks, Just Born now produces an abundance of shapes and colors for holidays throughout the year including Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Shockingly, even without the other candy colored critters, the amount of Peeps chicks and bunnies eaten at Easter alone could more than circle the Earth’s circumference. That’s nearly 25,000 miles of marshmallow folks! And clearly, a whole lot of fans!
According to the Peeps website, there are more than 200 unofficial Peeps websites on the Internet. There are no fewer than 20 fan sites on Facebook. The brand has been the number one non-chocolate Easter candy in the U.S. for more than a decade and now they even come in a Sugar-Free form. For the past three years, The Washington Post has even sponsored a “Power to the Peeps” diorama contest where hundreds of people build miniature marshmallow scenes like the “running of the Peeps in Pamploma,” a concert by “Peep Townsend and The Who” and “Amy Winepeep.” They tried to make her go to rehab and she said “Peep, Peep, Peep!”
Peeps are one of the great underdog brands – especially in comparison to the behemoth candy brands from M&Ms, Nestle,Hershey’s and even Wrigley’s – because of just how beloved they are. The Just Born company was started in 1910 by a Russian immigrant chocolatier. By 1955, it took 27 hours to make one Peep. Today it takes six minutes. Taste a Peep and there’s really nothing much to them. Yet here they are, about to open their first major retail store in America’s Capital – an overnight success 100 years in the making.Just further proof, with a great product and great service, even the smallest of underdogs can ultimately bark the loudest. Or in at least one case, Peep!

Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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