It feels like I flipped the calendar to October and suddenly it’s chilly out – in a matter of moments, the temperature has dropped and the leaves are changing colors. And my kids are counting the seconds (yes, the seconds) to Halloween and the candy fest that is sure to ensue. To me, a sweet persimmon, crisp apple or chewy date is the best candy, but something tells me this isn’t a sentiment shared by most children. So, to prepare for the onslaught of miniature ghosts and ghouls in a mere 26 days, I decided it was a great time to look at what social media has to say about candy brands.

We ran a Brand Passion Index  last Halloween on five candy brands, but decided to mix it up with several new ones this time around. As usual, I turned to the NetBase Insight Workbench to surface the emotions, opinions and behaviors that online consumers are expressing about these six brands of candy: Skittles, Reese’s, Candy Corn, M&Ms, SweeTarts and Tootsie Rolls.

In this graphic, the amount of chatter about a brand is indicated by the size of the bubble, while the placement of the bubble shows both the sentiment and passion intensity.

I found this particular chart so interesting – it really came down to a battle of the bite-sized candy bits: the good ole reliable, melts-in-your-mouth-not-in-your-hand chocolaty M&Ms vs. the chewy, fruit-impersonating Skittles that let you “taste the rainbow”. M&Ms generated the largest share of the overall buzz, with 42% of the conversation, but Skittles was not too far behind with 24%. And while M&Ms grabbed its share of voice from the social media universe, Skittles outranked them with higher Net Sentiment and Passion Intensity scores, of 74 and 89, respectively.  So, what accounts for the difference here? Verbatim surfaced about M&Ms suggested that the brand has generated such popularity due to its wide variety of options, colors, and the nostalgia that consumers associate with it. However, the ever-inevitable side effect of eating chocolate still seems to weigh on online consumers’ minds, impacting where M&Ms fall on the sentiment and passion scale.

Why must peanut M&Ms be so damn delicious!

I love m&m since I was a kiddo

A fleeting thought about a handful of M&M’s might be enough to derail your diet

Digging deeper into the verbatim about Skittles revealed that online consumers love the brand and express higher passion for it because of its delicious, universal taste that both children and adults enjoy, as well as a feeling of happiness after noshing on the fruity snacks.

Skittles are the best candy to snack on at work

Fact- Skittles are the best candy ever created

Skittles is like my favorite candy :) They make me happy! 

Skittles are obviously popular with children but they are still popular with adults who have fond memories of eating them when they were younger

And, unfortunately, for what is arguably the most traditional candy icon of the Halloween holiday:  Candy Corn generated the lowest metrics across the board, with a Net Sentiment score of 52 and a Passion Intensity score of 48. Looking at its position on the chart, you can see that it’s dangerously close to what I dubbed “No Man’s Land” during one of last month’s BPI featuring The Office. Verbatim about the (waxy what-food-group-is-that-really??? IMHO) triangular treat showed that many consumers enjoy Candy Corn only due to the seasonality and tradition associated with it, rather than the quality of the brand itself.

@DarkMuse30 @HH_A I love candy corn, but can only eat it in Sept & Oct – after Halloween, forget it

I bought a big bag of candy corn which looked very festive, but even Daniel is sick of it now and we still have half the bag left

I’m looking forward to eating candy corn during the fall/Halloween season

So which brands of candy are making their way into your trick-or-treaters’ bags this year? Let me know – something tells me persimmons won’t go over so well with my brood. And don’t forget to check back in with me in a couple of weeks, now that it’s getting cold out, we’re scoping out the warmest winter coat brands!