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    Sweethearts Joins Internet Age

    In time for Valentine’s Day, 145-year-old candy brand Sweethearts will boast an updated look, thanks to new fruity flavors, bright colors, and affectionate sayings chosen by consumers.

    In time for Valentine’s Day, 145-year-old candy brand Sweethearts will boast an updated look, thanks to new fruity flavors, bright colors, and affectionate sayings chosen by consumers. An online contest held last summer allowed people to pick the slogans on the next generation of the iconic candy hearts. The selections for 2010 reflect the way technology has influenced courtship: “Tweet Me” and “Text Me” topped the list.

    Also among the 10 consumer choices are the brand-new “Soul Mate,” “Love Bug” and “Me + You,” as well as such classic expressions as “Puppy Love,” “Sweet Love,” “Sweet Pea” and “Love Me.”

    As an added bonus, the candies now come in flavors including Green Apple, Blue Raspberry, Strawberry, Lemon, Grape and Orange, and the familiar pastels have evolved into vibrant, eye-catching colors. The revamped treats further have a softer texture that the company said is more fun to eat.

    Further, as the culmination of its engagement with the latest methods of communicating tender feelings, Sweethearts has created the first iPhone App that works directly with a user’s Twitter account. The app, which bowed this month, enables users to personalize as many as five Sweethearts with up to 25-character messages on each. This “digital box of Sweethearts,” as the manufacturer calls it, can then be sent to friends and significant others by Twitter.

    iPhone and iPod touch users can download the app at the Apple App Store; those without either device can access the app for Twitter by visiting www.MySweethearts.com.

    “Sweethearts have long been America's favorite Valentine’s Day candy for sharing a sweet sentiment with loved ones,” noted Jackie Hague, VP of marketing at the Revere, Mass.-based New England Confectionery Co., which was founded in 1847 and is the longest-running multi-line candy company in the United States. “The new tastier flavors, vibrant colors and modern expressions will ensure that Sweethearts continue to delight people of all ages and help them say something sweet to those they care about.”

    Added Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, Inc.: “Twitter is a new way to communicate in 140 characters or less, and Sweethearts have been helping people communicate using short phrases for decades.”

    The new Sweethearts come in 1-ounce boxes, 5-ounce theatre boxes and assorted bag sizes. The line’s products include Original, Chocolate, Hispanic, Sugar Free and newly introduced Sweethearts Dazzled Tarts, a collection aimed specifically at girls and featuring tart flavors, custom phrases and emoticons set off by a sparkly “dazzle” finish.

    The new Sweethearts Valentine’s Day line is just the latest burst of innovation from the venerable brand. Last year, Sweethearts teamed up with Summit Entertainment and the wildly popular “Twilight Saga” by Stephanie Meyer to roll out Forbidden Fruit Sweethearts (to tie in with the “Twilight” book/movie) and Fire and Ice Sweethearts (“New Moon”). An “Eclipse”-themed Twilight Sweethearts offering will is due this Summer. Also last year, the brand created debuted a new way to support for the troops with Red, White & You Sweethearts, which offer such sentiments as “Proud of U,” “Home Safe” and “Miss You.” U.S. troops in the States and abroad received the patriotic candies in care packages through a partnership with the United Service Organizations, Inc. (USO).

    The New England Confectionery Co.’s other well-known brands include NECCO Wafers, Clark bar, Mary Jane, and Haviland Thin Mints.

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