I Want Candy: How Nestle’s Skinny Cow Won Over Weight Conscious Women

I Want Candy: How Nestle’s Skinny Cow Won Over Weight Conscious Women

Nestle’s new Skinny Cow Candy brand, a 2013 Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation winner, achieved a two-year revenue of $115-125 million by selling candy to weight conscious women.  Since 1994, Skinny Cow has marketed and sold ice cream snacks to “dessert lovers who know that looking good and staying healthy doesn't mean a life without indulgence.” Skinny Cow’s website describes the new candy offering as:

“Unbelievably chocolatey. Melt-in-your-mouth madness. Perfectly yummy portions. Skinny's new line of chocolate candy weighs in at 110 to 130 calories. So if you've been avoiding the candy aisle, welcome back. You're gonna feel like a kid in a candy store.”

I Want Candy: How Nestle’s Skinny Cow Won Over Weight Conscious WomenIn the June 2013 Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation Report, a spotlight feature highlights how Skinny Cow Candy achieved success by “Thinking Outside the Aisle.” For the initial launch, Skinny Cow Candy needed to be highly visible, yet the candy aisle is frequently avoided by weight-conscious shoppers. The brand’s solution:

“The Skinny Cow plan: ‘We gotta make sure that shoppers literally fall over our product. We need to get the product to other areas of store.’ This was a big move.. custom displays were built to merchandise Skinny Cow chocolates in other parts of the store – notably, in front of the Lean Cuisine section of the freezer bank. Sounds crazy but what the insights team uncovered was that though the products were wildly different in terms of their specific attributes, they were closely aligned in the core benefits they delivered and in the vital job they performed in consumers lives. Specifically, for consumers looking for assistance in living healthier lives without undesirable sacrifices, inconvenience or cost, Skinny Cow and Lean Cuisine brands presented compelling solutions. In short, they go together.”

Marketing Strategies: Getting the Word Out

Along with its innovative product placement, Skinny Cow also launched marketing campaigns to direct target consumers to the candy aisle. This commercial gives an example:

While the brand has a social media presence on most major networks (in the persona of its cow mascot, Skinny) it clearly has found the most success with Facebook. Skinny Cow has 924,000 Facebook fans, with 5,640 fans talking about the brand at any given moment.  Skinny Cow has motivated fans and given them ways to spread the brand love. The Nielsen report continues:

“The marketing team executed a comprehensive social engagement strategy that enlisted the consumers in the launch: providing advanced scoops of the coming release, coupons for free trial boxes and e-coupons for sharing with friends. By energizing and activating their fan base, Skinny Cow created buzz and demand for the product before it even hit the stores.”

By activating its existing loyal fan base to both buy and spread the word, Skinny Cow brand was able to make its candy launch a rousing success. We often use “selling ice to Eskimos” as the default scenario for a difficult sales prospect—and selling candy to weight-conscious women isn’t far behind. This product launch is an excellent case study for planning, coordinating and executing a launch initiative.

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    Michal Clements

    Michal is co-author of Tuning Into Mom and an experienced consultant. Michal develops winning growth strategies and detailed go to market plans for some of the world’s outstanding organizations including McDonald’s, Gatorade, Abbott, Barilla, Tylenol, Clorox, Key Bank, Eagle Ottawa, Quaker and the Baker Demonstration School.

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