Toxic Waste Candies
Consumer Products

How Surge Brands is making Toxic Waste tasty

The sour candy brand's unique flavor is being translated in products like apparel for teens, while Surge zeroes in on the mascot for kids, says Mark Freedman.
October 8, 2021

Licensing company Surge Brands has big plans for a sweet deal with food manufacturer Candy Dynamics. Upcoming consumer products inspired by the confectioner’s Toxic Waste candy line will focus on its sweet-to-sour calling card.

“The candy starts sweet and then gets so sour you can’t stand it. Then it gets sweet again before one last blast of sour,” says Surge Brands president Mark Freedman. “It’s a challenge; Toxic Waste is asking people if they can handle the sour.”

That attitude will inform the whole consumer products range for tween and teen fans, Freedman says, with apparel and accessories for older segments taking inspiration from the “cool and edgy” aesthetics of skate brands and streetwear. Items for younger consumers, meanwhile, will focus on the candy brand’s products, logo and the Mr. Toxie Head character.

Mr. Toxie Head isn’t as instantly recognizable as, say, the M&M’s characters, but Freedman believes the Toxic Waste brand is well on its way to becoming a household name.

“We take on the under-the-radar opportunities that people don’t necessarily understand in the beginning,” he says.

Available across North America in grocery, convenience, drug and specialty stores, the Toxic Waste candy line is also on shelves in the UK, Europe, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, New Zealand and the UAE. The brand has seen an increase in popularity recently, with Toxic Waste impulse item now available next to the register as well as in the candy aisle, Freedman says.

To build the brand’s reach further, the agency has inked a number of new licensing agreements that will see  products hitting shelves across North America in spring 2022.

Partners include H3 Sportgear (master apparel and accessories), License 2 Play (plush figures, plush pillows, fidget toys), Centric Beauty/TASTE Beauty (lip balms), Super Impulse (miniature collectible blind-box and blind-bag toys), Inkology (school supplies, stickers, stampers, chalk) and Rasta Imposta (Halloween costumes and masks). These initial deals focus on major categories like toys and apparel, while also featuring products that can easily translate the colors and flavors of the candy—like beauty items.

Moving forward, the company is looking to expand Toxic Waste’s consumer products program with additional categories like footwear and beverages (a natural extension for a food-focused brand).

While major brands can boast hundreds of partners, Freedman says the Surge team is focused on agreements with 12 or 13 licensees in the US to start. “We want to stay lean and focus only on products that have real wow factor. Generally speaking, in licensing you make 90% of your money from about 10% of your deals, so you really don’t need those superfluous categories.”

He says announcements about US retail partners are coming soon, and the Surge team is in conversations with international sub-agents to expand the licensing program globally.

About The Author
Elizabeth Foster is Kidscreen's Copy Chief & Special Reports Editor. Contact Elizabeth at efoster@brunico.com

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