Case Study

Starburst Chew the Clue

case studies starburst chew the clueThe Starburst team had a mission: develop a brand promotion that would reinforce brand equity and create buzz in the marketplace and excitement in the teenage demographic.

To help them accomplish this goal, the team came to Ideas To Go and the Creative Consumers® associates. Ideas To Go recruited and trained 16 and 17 year old male and female Starburst consumers for an ideation session. During the session, they discussed the types of promotions that they would like in general, as well as specific promotion ideas.

From this session, the team learned that the target desired promotions that:

  • Have LOTS of winners, not just one big prize—though a big prize is good too!

  • Are easy to understand and participate in.

  • Are fun and even edgy.

With these qualifications in mind, the team of clients and Creative Consumers® associate Teens used the above elements to develop 10 concepts that went into quantitative testing. A concept called Chew The Clue emerged as the winner, and went into production.

During the limited time promotion, every package of Starburst contained 1 piece in a mystery flavor. Participants only had to call the 800 number and register their guess for a chance to win prizes. Callers could call back and guess any time, and would find out immediately if they were right. Various levels of prizes included: 35 grand prize Hawaii trips, 2,000 first prizes of gear such as knapsacks and Starburst radios, as well as 5,000 second prizes of beach towels.


In addition to the featured prizes, the Mystery Flavor piece itself felt like a prize. The promotion bolstered brand equity by focusing on the fruit flavor in every package. Participation was easy and interactive, so it was fun to play and guess. Teens enjoyed the challenge, and thousands of prizes of free Starburst were distributed, in addition to the bigger prizes. The promotion hotline logged 5 million calls, much more than the 1-2 million expected. It lifted sales by 35%, and we have been told it is the 2nd strongest promotion ever at M&M Mars.

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