The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

March 8, 2013

Hot chicks: At 60, Peeps more popular than ever

— BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — It's Easter morning. A boy rouses his younger brother, and they run to the living room to find their baskets filled with — what else? — Peeps.

"Peeps are THE candy of Easter," the excited boy tells his wide-eyed sibling, who pops a yellow marshmallow chick in his mouth.

"You can eat 'em, smash 'em, microwave 'em, deep fry 'em, roast 'em on a stick," the boy explains. That's not all. You can make "historically accurate Peeps dioramas ... Peeps pop art ... You can make a Peeps topiary." On he goes, all day and night. "Peeps jousting ... hide-and-go Peeps ... Peepshi ... that's sushi made out of Peeps."

As the storied candy brand celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, Peeps' first TV ad in a decade captures an essential truth about the spongy confection made of sugar, corn syrup and gelatin: Love them or hate them, people do all sorts of things with Peeps, only some of which involve giving them to kids at Easter or eating them straight from the box.

And they're not shy about sharing.

"Everyone seems to have a Peeps story," says Ross Born, third-generation operator of Just Born Inc., which hatches 5 million Peeps a day at its plant 60 miles north of Philadelphia. "And they are free and willing to talk about how they eat their Peeps, how they cure them, how they store them, how they decorate with them. And these are adults!"

Just Born calls it the "Peepsonality" of consumers who buy Peeps not only to eat, but also to play around with.

"If you had asked me about this 25 years ago, I would've been rather bewildered about the whole thing," Born confesses. "We were candymakers."

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