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Published: Saturday, 4/7/2001

Lollipop lovers get to lick 3 new Dum Dum flavors

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

BRYAN - Spangler Candy Co. is updating its lollipops by introducing three new flavors at once - a first for the company - and attempting to get its 35-year-old mascot, the Dum Dum Drum Man, out more.

The company painted huge pictures of him on its semi trailers and syrup tankers that had appeared rather generic.

It set up an Internet site - dumdumpops.com - on which children and their parents can print out coloring book pictures of him or put a scrambled picture of him back together.

And it's hawking T-shirts and backpacks featuring the Dum Dum Drum Man for 20 lollipop wrappers and $10, a price the firm said is below cost.

All are the result of a year's planning that culminated this week when buttered popcorn, orange cream, and fruit punch replaced sour apple, orange, and lemon in bags of assorted lollipops, marketing manager Jim Knight said.

It's been at least five years since the company, which produces seven million Dum Dums a day, at least five days a week, introduced a flavor. That was blue raspberry, best known as the only Dum Dum that turns tongues blue.

The firm promises at least 10 flavors per bag and sells only assorted bags, except on its Internet site, on which bags of individual flavors are available.

Spangler has not had a program to get merchandise by saving wrappers since the early 1990s, and the new “Save Wraps for Stuff” offers significantly higher quality merchandise.

However, everything in its new selection, which includes watches and ballcaps, costs $6 to $10, plus 20 lollipop wrappers. The previous line, which featured squirt guns, model airplanes, and toy rings, had some items for 25 wrappers and 35 cents.

But Mr. Knight said the company expects “thousands and thousands” to save wrappers.

“We have a new post office box assigned just to collect wrappers because we know it's going to be a lot,” he said.

Spangler's biggest competitor, Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc., based in Chicago, has had tootsie-roll.com operating for about three years, complete with games for children, spokesman Mike Marker said.

Its Tootsie Pops and Charms lollipops do not come in as many flavors as Dum Dums, Mr. Knight said.



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