In a world of complex business strategies and an overload of access to business resources, sometimes it’s the simplest things that teach us the most valuable lessons. Case in point: the iconic Chupa Chups lollipop. This unassuming candy on a stick has managed to capture hearts, minds, and taste buds across the globe. But what can business owners learn from this sweet success story? Let’s unwrap the lessons hidden beneath its sugary exterior.
Lesson 1: Don’t worry about fitting into a box
Right from day one, Chupa Chups didn’t settle for the lolly industry’s status quo. Back in the 1950s, lollies were often tucked away in glass jars, out of reach. But Chupa Chups did the opposite — they asked for their lollipops to be put right by the cash register, within reach of small hands. It was a simple shift, but it worked wonders and to this day the Chupa Chups display often takes prime position on the countertop. It’s a good lesson in thinking differently and breaking from tradition to attract attention and drive sales.
Lesson 2: Branding is important
Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, a family friend of the Chupa Chups founder, crafted the famous daisy logo. His insistence on placing it on top of the lollipop, rather than the side, was so the logo would always be prominent and intact. Pay careful attention to branding and thoughtful design — they go a long way in creating brand longevity.
Lesson 3: Be creative
Innovation isn’t just about big leaps; it can be found in the small things too. Chupa Chups didn’t stop at regular lollipop “flavours” like red, purple, yellow — they introduced quirky options like cola, watermelon, as well as classic favourites like strawberry and cream. They also continue release limited edition flavours and lines. These unexpected twists keep the brand exciting and relevant and they do well at talking to a different consumer — sometimes adults, rather than the traditional lollipop target market of kids. A sprinkle of creativity can go a long way in capturing consumer interest.
Lesson 4: Diversify your offerings
While the lollipops are the undoubted mainstay, Chupa Chups have also explored a variety of products like Chupa Chups-flavoured chewy lollies, fizzy drinks, donuts, soft toys and ice cream. This diversification has allowed them to reach different audiences in different categories and to capitalize on trends, proving that expanding your offerings can keep your brand fresh and appealing.
Lesson 5: Stay in tune with trends
Other than flavour and size varieties, the Chupa Chup lollipop hasn’t really changed since launch but they still have the brand perception of being modern and cool rather than a classic or relic. How? They’re good at jumping on trends — such as flavours like matcha latte or their sour line — and open to collabing with trendy brands that reflect well on them. For example, Chupa Chup has partnered with global artists, fashion designers, video games, and brands-of-the-moment to create new products that capture attention. They’ve worked with known names to create limited editions such as a Baby G watch and an H&M fashion collection. This a great way to keep the brand relevant and interesting to new generations of consumers.
Lesson 6: Be playful with your marketing
Marketing doesn’t have to be serious to be effective. From celebrity endorsements including Madonna and the Spice Girls to quirky slogans like “stop smoking, start sucking”, their marketing campaigns are aimed at engaging consumers with humour and creativity. For Halloween, they spent an estimated $1m pounds on a campaign that included high-profile TikTok stars and a branded filter aimed at teens with its goulish effects. Sales lifted significantly. Don’t be afraid to be bold and mix a bit of playfulness into your brand marketing to make it more relatable and memorable.
Lesson 7: Go global
Chupa Chups hasn’t confined their reach to a single market — those little suckers are now sold in 164 countries. Business owners can learn the value of expanding beyond borders and catering to diverse audiences for sustained growth.
Lesson 8: Embrace change
Chupa Chups has seen ownership changes, shifts in marketing, and evolving consumer preferences. Yet, through it all, they’ve managed to reinvent themselves and remain relevant. The lesson here is to go with the times, as adaptability is often the key to long-term success.
Lesson 9: Stick to your knitting
Despite their evolution and brand extension products, Chupa Chups still retains the core essence of their brand: a simple lolly on a stick. They still offer some of their initial launch flavours — strawberry and strawberry and cream — which remain best sellers today. It’s a good reminder that while innovation is important, so is staying true to your brand’s essence to maintain authenticity and retain loyal customers.
A quick Google search tells me Chupa Chups had a revenue of over $500m euros and 2000 staff in 2006 and an estimated ¼ of all lollipops sold are Chupa Chups — pretty incredible for a simple lolly launched in the ‘50s.
The Chupa Chups’ business journey provides a sweet reminder that simplicity, creativity, and adaptability can be the recipe for business success. Suck on that!