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New England Confectionery Company Launches First Ever, Customizable Sweethearts Candy Package and Announces 'Color Your Own' Kids Contest for Valentine's Day

The New England Confectionery Company (NECCO ) announced today the launch of its new Sweethearts candy packaging and its "Color Your Own" contest for children in celebration of Valentine's Day. NECCO, the maker of Sweethearts Conversation Hearts, developed a new, black and white matte Sweethearts "Color Your Own" packaging to invoke kids' creativity. The crayon and marker-friendly candy boxes provide a canvas for kids to create a personalized gift and the designs can be entered in the "Color Your Own" contest, that runs through March 1, 2014.

Open to children in three age groups (5-7, 8-10 and 11-12), the contest asks that young participants color the Sweethearts box, creating a one-of-a-kind design. With the help of an adult, kids upload their unique submission at www.necco.com, under the "Color Your Own" link. All submissions will be reviewed by NECCO and judged on color and creativity.

"We wanted a fun and interactive way to give back to Sweethearts fans," said Alyssa Hills, director of marketing at NECCO. "Kids today are extremely tech savvy and we love the idea of encouraging their creativity with the blank canvas of the packaging while incorporating a web component that speaks to young generations. We can't wait to review the submissions and see what designs the participants invent."

There will be one grand prize winner and one runner-up for each of the three age categories. The grand prize winners will be awarded a $1,000 savings bond certificate and the opportunity to have their own personal saying appear as a Sweetheart candy for the 2015 Valentine's Day season. The runners-up will win a giant NECCO goodie bag worth $200 each. Winner selection will be announced two weeks after the submission period closes.More information and contest rules can be found at www.necco.com.

The modern day Sweethearts Conversation Hearts were introduced in 1902, inspired by their predecessor, the cockles, small crisp candies made of sugar and flour formed in the shape of a cockle or scallop shell. The hearts first became a wedding day favorite, bearing messages meant for the bride and groom, however, soon the entire family began to enjoy the confectionery treat. The present day Sweethearts is now today's #1 selling non-chocolate Valentine's Day candy and still features some of the original sayings including "Kiss Me" and "Be Mine." More than four billion pounds of Sweethearts candies are sold in the six weeks leading up to Valentine's Day.



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