Some Marketing Ideas for Cartridge Candy

Bringing attention to a product through the use of props works wonders with almost anything.

Here are a couple of photos of some displays of Cartridge Candy I’ve used in my own store that draw on their parody of real musket cartridges.

 

 

The Cartridge Box holds 6 rounds of Cartridge Candy. The Ammunition Box holds 300 rounds. Note that the rounds are still in their poly bags (50 rounds per bag). If you are selling outdoors, in a tent, this is a great way to do it, because it keeps the bulk of the humidity from the product. After hours, the bags can be sealed and the box lid closed.

 

NOTE: The above shown displays are not products offered for sale. They are shown here only to illustrate creative marketing display possibilities.

 

THIS WORKS!

 

 

However, Cartridge Candy can be put to more uses than sitting on the Gift Shop candy counter or on a table in your tent! Here is one way I have tried myself with great success at events I attend.

 

When you have a large-scale event and can dedicate a volunteer (or two), set up a game in which the prize is Cartridge Candy and the price to play is the cost. I usually do this using a target shooting game, giving three shots per game. I have had line-ups to play for hours on end. What I do is set up a wooden crate with either a target pinned to the inside or a couple of stacked pop cans. The player uses an elastic band shooting musket and stands about 6-10 feet back, depending on age. I will often help the younger ones aim and fire, which the parents just eat up, because of the photo-op.

 

 

It doesn’t matter if the player hits the target or not – they are winners, anyway and I ring a bell to herald that (which also attracts attention). The object is that they have fun and you sell candy, either for profit or fund-raising. Just about every parent is at the ready with a camera to record the moment, as well, so it is a great interactive, photo-op participation activity that will stand out.

 

What you will find, if you use this approach, is that Cartridge Candy sales go up immensely (as do the sales of wooden muskets).

 

You don’t have to tie the game to target shooting. I’ve done this using a version of table top bowling, variously called “Pop the Pirate”, “Whack the Witch” and “Bop the Brit”, depending on the situation. No matter what sort of period game you adopt, make sure that it’s something you have in stock, because you will sell more of that item, as well.

 

 

THE TRICK TO THIS APPROACH IS THAT WHOEVER DOES IT HAS TO REALLY LIKE WORKING WITH THE PUBLIC!

 

It is difficult, but not impossible, to do the above on an “education” day or if you are hosting a school outing, as everyone will want to do it. You will just need a few more volunteers. However, I’ve sold to a few sites that buy Cartridge Candy, build it into the student cost, and give one to each participant.

There are a couple ways to do this distribution:

 

• Give the rounds out to the teachers or volunteers as the group checks in.

• If you have an interpreter doing musket-firing, give the rounds out following the demonstration.

 

The latter works best, because now they’ve seen what the candy is based on, but in either case, when they hit the Gift Shop, they generally stock up on even more.

 

The most effective selling technique that I have used is to keep a couple of “sacrificial rounds” handy so I can “sample” a customer by pouring a bit into the palm of their hand. I would have to say it results in a multiple sale 9 times out of 10. When sampling, I point out that the product is based on a musket cartridge, “candy powder and gum ball – you pour it down your muzzle”.

 

Talking to your customer about the benefits of any product is a good practice. If I don’t have the product they are looking for, I try to point out who might have it. Customers appreciate that and I usually sell something to them, because of that.

 

 

Pictured: on the River Road at Mississinewa, 1812 (Marion, Indiana)

As you can see, my Cartridge Candy display is fairly prominent. The game is handy to the display for maximum turnover in service.

 

IF YOU ARE SELLING OUTDOORS:

 

 

 

KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY!

If it is raining during an event, I always tell the purchaser to “keep their powder dry”. Sugar and water do not mix well*.

 

Certain climate conditions, like extreme heat and/or high humidity, affect all confectionary products, including Cartridge Candy. Cartridge Candy is primarily sugar, and although we have packaged it in a double waxed food grade paper wrapper, it is nonetheless subject to the characteristics of all loose sugar based products with flavour additives. If it sits a long time, it will “pack” (lump). If it is exposed to high moisture, it will absorb it.* Neither condition really affects the integrity of the product. In the case of packing, the product will still pour, once the package is opened.

 

“WHAT IS CARTRIDGE CANDY?” – Turning questions into sales

You can expect visitors to your store or tent to ask this question frequently. They are not used to time-travel. And there are variations on the question, such as “Oh, look! Cigars!” or “Are they cigars?” Any question like that should be used as an opportunity to both educate and sell, by pointing out the use and function of the cartridge and the fact that this one is not filled with black powder and lead ball, but rather candy powder and gumball and is therefore so much better for you. Incidentally, if you add to this the line “You pour it down your muzzle”, you make a sale about 99% of the time. Questions about a product are good, because it engages you with the customer. When the sale is made, I point out that in deference to the dental plan, it is recommended to untwist the end, instead of biting the end as soldiers do, before pouring the contents down the muzzle. A good example of engaging is in this note I received from Fort Sumpter:

 

“Thought I'd share something with y'all.

One way I end up selling cartridge candy to grand parents is, after being asked to describe the product, to add the following line.

"Caution, the smaller the muzzle you pour it down, the bigger the bang you'll get!"

They love it, and end up buying at least one per grandchild.

It should be mentioned that we keep the candy on the counter by the register. This not only allows us to explain what it is (to those who don't care to read the explanation), but also use it to demonstrate how they would be used. For those at artillery parks, it doesn't take much to use it as a basic example of a spherical shot and surge bag setup.

Take care, and here's to another great year!”

 

Andy Miller

Asst. Unit Manager

Fort Sumter N M, Charles Pinckney NHS

 

* I have learned that the fact the product is water-soluble is a selling point. The powder can be added to bottled water to create flavoured drinks.

 

Background: book bag design by Carol Wakefield

 

PROMOTION

A couple of years ago, Amy Klassen, at the Niagara Historical Society and Museum in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, attached tags to Cartridge Candy giving complementary admission to their site. 900 rounds were distributed to children at the town’s Santa Claus parade. What a great idea!

Couponing can be an effective marketing tool in driving both sales and promoting other merchandise on your site. The coupon can offer discounts on site membership, up-coming events, a really classy book bag or even in cooperation with an off-site commercial sponsor, such as a near-by family restaurant.

Our Ammo-Pak/Pirate Pack offers the perfect vehicle for an in-package couponing campaign. All you have to do is un-zip the clear polybag, insert your coupon and zip it up again. It makes a great stocking stuffer for the Christmas season, also. Note: the coupons shown in the photograph do not reflect an actual offering using this concept and are displayed solely for illustrative purposes.

 

FUND RAISER

Just about every museum or historical site has a “wish list” to accomplish that is not going to be covered by the site admission fee. Have you ever been asked by the clerk at the cash register to donate a dollar for some cause or other? Most people will do this, but they will be happier if they “get” when they give. Give them a Cartridge Candy! Place the product by the cash register.

If you do this promotion, let us know, when you order. We will prepare a back-board for your merchandiser appropriate to your cause.

 

RE-MARKET TO SCHOOLS

Probably not politically correct in some areas, but I have had teachers buy for history classes and school re-enactments. You probably know the schools in your area that would be up for this.

 

BIRTHDAY PARTIES

Cartridge Candy makes a great party favour for your birthday party bookings.

 

INGREDIENTS & NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

The ingredients that make up Cartridge Candy are listed on the cartridge wrapper and cover the ingredients used in all flavours. The customer can access the specific nutritional information by going to www.cyruswakefield.com (This direction is printed on the wrapper). Two important responses to questions concerning the ingredients: There are no peanut products involved and there are 0% trans fats.

 

DISPLAYING CARTRIDGE CANDY

At the top of this page, we showed a couple of props that most sites will find easy to manufacture. We provide a cardboard merchandiser with the first order of Cartridge Candy, which is also pretty effective. With regard to the humidity problem encountered by sugar based products, I’ve seen a number of sites that use mason jars or confectionary jars to display the product. Those jars are a great way to keep moisture off your powder, as well as keeping them sorted by flavour. But remember to keep them out of direct sun, due to condensation.

 

POINT OF SALE MATERIAL

On our Point of Sale Banners & Posters are a variety of era-themed banners that you can print for promotion. We update these from time to time, if there is a major anniversary of a historic event.

 

Do not bar code the product. Bar code stickers, when peeled off by the customer, will remove the printing from the package. It also doesn’t look very period. It is better, in this instance, to keep a “master” bar code tag at the point of sale, that the clerk can scan at the time of purchase.

 

SHELF LIFE

The shelf life of the product is actually quite long, depending on how it has been displayed or stored. It can be up to 12 months.

 

* SUGGESTION: This comes from the manager of the gift shop at Bushy Run, Pennsylvania. She says she left her remaining inventory of candy in the merchandiser through the off season, and it went hard. She put the candy into a zip lock bag (like the master bag it’s packed in) with a half slice of bread and it reconstituted to its delicious former self. So my sincere thanks to Bushy Run for this cheap, effective solution.

 

IF YOUR SITE HAS AN UNUSUAL WAY OF SELLING CARTRIDGE CANDY

send me your stories or photos. We’ll post them with credit to your site!