Brand mascots enjoy getting playfully involved with politics. In 2016, StarKist’s Charlie the Tuna was the alTUNAtive Presidential candidate who ran on a platform for change and great taste we could believe in.
Now, 1908 Candy has a delicious dark horse nominee in their own Alexander the Grape. The iconic grape-flavored candy character is returning after a 30-year hiatus. His mission? “Make America Grape Again.”
Alexander the Grape’s Origin Story
If the name of this mascot doesn’t ring a bell with you, perhaps you’ll recall some of the mascot’s previous design, and name, iterations over the years.
Alexander the Grape was created by confection company Ferrara Pan in the mid-1970s. The candy mascot was referred to as Alexander the Grape until the 1990s. Then, the candy became more commonly known as “Grapeheads.” (Sounds a little more familiar, right?)
Alongside Grapeheads were a bevy of Ferrara Pan favorites including Appleheads and Cherryheads. These candies quickly became part of the Ferrara Pan “Lemonhead and Friends” hard candy mix.
A Sweet 2018 Relaunch
In 2018, the candies were brought back under their original names by 1908 Candy’s Founder Lou Pagano II. The relaunch revamped quite a few aspects of the candy. Originally a hard candy, Alexander the Grape was relaunched as flavorful and chewy.
Acting creative agency Mann Sales Co. worked alongside 1908 Candy to capture the candy’s nostalgic elements and revamp the characters for a new audience. Supported by Creative Director Jack Levison, Mann Sales Co. relaunched every aspect of the brand. This included updating packaging designs, creating new advertising campaigns, and redesigning 1908 Candy’s website pages for the characters.
Mann Sales Co. also partnered with Glitschka Studios for the character redesigns. Art Director Von Glitschka and Illustrator Savannah Glitschka were tasked with retaining the established equity of the characters while giving each one a fresh, new approach. This meant paying attention to the simplicity of form, using vibrant colors, and engaging personas to better position the product in the competitive candy marketplace.
Meet Alexander the Grape
Just who is Alexander the Grape?
Much like his namesake Alexander the Great, Alexander the Grape considers himself to be the most influential candy in history. He’s fearless, ambitious, and full of wit and good humor. Legend has it he won’t stop until he has conquered every shelf and taste bud in the known world.
The “Make America Grape Again” Campaign Trail
Millions of packages of Alexander the Grape were sold during the candy’s original run with Ferrara Pan. Alexander’s return has seen a largely positive reception, both with the revamped candy and its playful OOH (out-of-home) anti-political campaign.
Slogan aside, what else does Alexander the Grape stand for? Well, this is a candy that supports universal healthcare for all — except dental plans. Alexander also believes politics shouldn’t be tough to swallow and that yes, we can(dy).
After running a successful campaign in Chicago, 1908 Candy expanded its “Make America Grape Again” ad campaign to the greater New York City area in August. Lou Pagano II appreciates that fans have enjoyed the candy company’s sense of humor — and that they have been ecstatic about the candy’s return. Sales have increased by 600% for 1908 Candy!
Post-Presidential run, where can you find Alexander the Grape? He’s pretty active on social media! You can follow him on Twitter @alexgrapecandy, Instagram @alexandergrapecandy, and TikTok, where has over 25,000 followers in the grape gang, @alexanderthegrape5.