This Valentine's Day, fans of Sweethearts can use Twitter to create personalized real or virtual versions of the candies for their sweeties.
These personalized versions -- which come in one-pound bags that cost $29.99, and are delivered within five business days --have been dubbed #Tweethearts.
To order, consumers visit a dedicated Web site, www.neccotweethearts.com, where they can compose and tweet a love note to @tweethearts. After sending the tweets, users receive a response tweet with an image of a Sweethearts candy bearing their message.
They can then fill out the recipient's name and address, and pay to have a bag of the candies delivered (the full tweet note is on the bag, and key words from the note are on the candies). Or they can opt just to share the digital image socially. Or both.
The #Tweethearts campaign is from Hill Holliday.
Sweethearts' parent, New England Confectionery Company (NECCO), has also partnered with Twitter to add the phrase "Tweet me" to the repertoire of classic two-word love messages seen on this year's candies.
The two companies connected after consumers overwhelmingly voted for the "Tweet me" phrase in a Sweethearts online survey last year to determine which new messages would grace the candies for V-Day 2014.
No money was exchanged between the companies, making the "Tweet me" candies a free PR vehicle for Twitter, as well as a relevant new selling point for the 148-year-old Sweethearts brand, noted USA Today.
This isn't the first time that tech-oriented messages have appeared on the candies (past examples include the now-outdated or uncool "Fax me" and "Email me").
But pervasive as it is, social media can't meet all Valentine's Day needs.
So beyond the Twitter connections, Sweethearts is also reaching out to kids (ages five to 12) this year with a new package and a contest.
Black-and-white, crayon and marker-friendly Sweethearts “Color Your Own” packages offer kids a canvas to create personalized designs/gifts. They can also enter their designs in a contest at www.necco.com (through March 1).
Grand prize winners in each category will receive a $1,000 savings bond certificate and the opportunity to have their own personal sayings appear as a Sweetheart candy for the 2015 Valentine’s Day season. The runners-up will win a giant NECCO goodie bag worth $200 each.
Sweethearts isn't forgetting the high rollers, either.
For the first time, NECCO is offering a (very) limited edition gift: four half-ounce custom "Sweethearts" fashioned from 24 karat gold, in a Sweethearts box. Price: $19,995.
Only 14 of the gifts are available, to be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. These are being promoted on NECCO's online store, although those interested are asked to call an 800#.