Originally published in the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Daily Times-Call.

I’m scared. There are no more trick-or-treaters, but candy is still in the house and I’m in big trouble again. Each year I think I’ll handle it differently, but the delicious little bites tempt me over and over, year after year.

This year, once again, I found myself standing in front of a massive display of Halloween candy. I could feel that familiar stress building. What should I buy? Should I buy anything? How much should I buy? What happens if there are left-overs? Will I be able to resist?

Halloween candy is simultaneously beloved and hated by both the providers and the receivers of the sugary temptations. I, myself, have a love/hate relationship with the notion of purchasing candy to give out to total strangers. Should it be something I like in case I do have some left over? Should I try going the healthy route? Should I turn off the lights and not participate? Should I go traditional?

While struggling to decide what to do this year, I found myself thinking about Candy Corn. This colorful specialty has become synonymous with Halloween. Each year loyal followers eagerly purchase the candy. In fact, it is estimated that 35 million pounds of the tasty treat are sold each year.

In addition to being tied closely to the most scary of holidays, Candy Corn has often been said to be the only candy that doesn’t ever advertise. The “no ad” rumor has been around for years. So, how can something be so popular and not do a lot of advertising?

The “no ad” rumor appears to have begun in 2004 with a bit of stand-up comedy performed by Lewis Black. He said, “Candy Corn is the only candy in the history of American that’s never been advertised.” For some reason that stuck. While this may seem interesting, it simply isn’t true.

Candy Corn was created in the 1880’s as a means of recognizing the fall harvest. The colors of the candy represent the different stages of ripening corn. Each kernel contains the famous white, orange and yellow that we all recognize. Some people love the candy. Others, like me, can do without. However, I enjoy seeing the candy because it’s so traditional.

While it is true that Candy Corn isn’t advertised as much as say M&Ms, it has been branded so effectively that it is closely tied to a major holiday in the United States – no small undertaking. There are places online where you can learn to make a Candy Corn costumes, casseroles, furniture, knick-knacks, and much more.

There are lessons to be learned with this example.

Products and services that become “traditional” have a unique place in branding. The brand itself becomes part of what people want to experience. This isn’t available to all businesses, but many may have the opportunity to market within traditional undertakings. Some businesses have also begun their own holidays in an effort to boost sales.

A “Hallmark holiday” is a term used predominantly in the United States to describe a holiday that is perceived to exist primarily for commercial purposes, rather than to commemorate a traditionally or historically significant event.

Holidays that have been referred to as “Hallmark holidays” include Grandparents Day, Sweetest Day, Boss’s Day, and Secretary’s Day. Some people also consider St. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to be such days.

Whether you love holidays, or could do without, consider their impacts on your business. You might have the potential to create something lasting. Or, without careful consideration, you may find a rock in your Halloween sack. The key is to be creative – not scared!

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
She may be reached at 303-651-6612; scornay@comm-concepts.com; www.comm-concepts.com; Facebook.com/Communication Concepts; Twitter @CommConceptsPR; or Linked In.

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