A squirrel mascot named Zipper is out to pitch Necco candy lines to young consumers

Local geezers could go on at great length about Necco Wafers, a candy invented hereabouts in the mid 1800s. Now the candy’s maker, the New England Confectionary Co. of Revere, wants its sweets to be equally esteemed by young consumers.

So, following an ad agency review, the company selected the Noonan Creative Group of Framingham to design a website that might beguile a younger demographic of candy lovers and to alert them that Necco doesn’t just make its eponymous Wafers, but that its candy line-up also includes such classics as the vintage peanut-butter chew known as the Mary Jane, not to mention the Clark Bar, and Haviland Thin Mints.

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In sizing up its assignment, Noonan saw great potential in a brand that Necco licensed to manufacture in 2004 --- Squirrel Nut Zippers. (Not to be confused with a rock band with the same name, Squirrel Nut Zippers are candy chews whose chief ingredients include caramel and peanuts.)

According to Necco’s website, the Squirrel candy brand dates back to 1888 and has Boston and Cambridge roots. The brand also had a mascot --- a mischievous squirrel.

Noonan decided to animate this mascot, dubbed Zipper, and post a video about his antics on Youtube. In one video, Zipper tries to destroy other candies and in doing so, accidentally creates new ones. Besides the Youtube star treatment, Zipper also has his own website, www.whereszipper.com.

According to Noonan, Zipper is a fun marketing vehicle for introducing new candies while infusing more personality into the Necco brand.

In a statement, Necco’s director of marketing Alyssa Hills said, “This is a new and exciting time for Necco, and we wanted the site to strike a balance between that and the vintage feel inherent in our brand.”

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