Doughnuts, smoothies, pizza, MoonPie, eyewear — brands are going all out-of-this-world with solar eclipse-themed goodies

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Warby Parker is providing solar eclipse viewing glasses at all of its locations.


New York
CNN
 — 

Sellers of doughnuts, pizza, smoothies, chips, and one perfectly named, celestially inspired, snack — MoonPie — are looking at the full solar eclipse as a marketing bonanza, albeit a short-term one. They are trotting out eclipse-themed offerings to mark the day next week when the moon will shroud the mighty sun in darkness.

On Monday, April 8, millions of people will witness a rare total solar eclipse as it passes over Mexico, the United States and Canada. As the hype builds around this remarkable event, brands are rushing to capitalize on its significance with some timely fun and puns.

For starters, Pizza Hut will give customers a “Total Eclipse of the Hut” deal on eclipse day, offering any large-sized pizza for $12.

And Krispy Kreme will mark the one-day event with “Total Solar Eclipse Doughnut,” a glazed treat dipped in black chocolate icing, with silver sprinkles, piped with a buttercream made with Oreo pieces and featuring an Oreo cookie in the center. Its latest eclipse-themed doughnut will be available April 5 through April 8.

This is the second time Krispy Kreme has created a new one pegged to a total solar eclipse. Back in 2017, during the last total solar eclipse in the US, the brand used chocolate to cover its original glazed doughnut.

Rare phenomena, like a total solar eclipse, can be a good marketing opportunity for brands, said Koen Pauwels, associate dean, research and distinguished professor of marketing at Northeastern University.

“Lots of people are interested in it, they may be searching for it online. For existing customers it can give another cool reminder about a brand,” he said. “If I already like Krispy Kreme or SunChips, it’s a fun reminder that, oh I like the product but haven’t eaten it in a while. Let me buy it.”

Frito-Lay’s SunChips is unveiling a limited-time new flavor — pineapple habanero and black bean spicy gouda — on April 8. The flavor will only be available for free on SunChipsSolarEclipse.com during the 4 minutes and 27 seconds of the solar eclipse’s duration of totality, the company said.

Courtesy SunChips

SunChips Solar Eclipse Chips.

On the other hand, for a relatively new brand that has a smart tie-in to the eclipse, it’s a way to capture the attention of potential customers.

“This may be your short-term chance to get people to try your brand,” Pauwels said. “In the short-term, it is a cool opportunity. In the long-term, if your business has nothing to do with the sun or moon, it’s not really going to help you.”

Elsewhere, Smoothie King has created an “Eclipse Berry Blitz Smoothie” that’s available until April 8 nationwide and Burger King will give free whoppers that day in a buy-one-get-one offer.

Eyewear brand Warby Parker wants people to safely view the eclipse. So it’s giving away way free, ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses at all locations, while supplies last. NASA recommends wearing a set of eclipse glasses that complies with the ISO 12312-2 international standard when viewing any solar eclipse. These are not regular sunglasses but thousands of times darker than standard sunglasses.

Courtesy Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme’s Total Solar Eclipse specialty dozen.

The maker of MoonPie — the popular marshmallow, graham cookie, chocolate-coated snack — was determined not be caught unprepared during this total solar eclipse. It began preparing an eclipse strategy several month ago.

Chattanooga Bakery, Inc. came up with a limited-edition drop of “Solar Eclipse Survival Kits” available at Dollar Tree stores nationwide and at participating Wal-Mart and Kroger stores along the path of the total eclipse in the United States. The Solar Eclipse mini-sized MoonPies come in first-ever all black-colored 6-count boxes, in chocolate, vanilla or banana flavors and a 12-count chocolate-only box.

“It’s the day the moon wins, and the sun goes down! So we wanted to make something that got people as excited about the eclipse as we are,” said Tory Johnston, vice president of sales and marketing at Chattanooga Bakery, Inc.

Courtesy MoonPie

MoonPie’s limited-edition ‘solar eclipse survival kits’.

The family-owned business dates back to 1902. The MoonPie brand was started in 1917, Johnston said. “We are a one brand, one family business. It’s quite a unicorn. We are fifth generation and this is all that we do,” he said, adding that a million MoonPies are made daily.

Johnston admits that the brand didn’t think much about the eclipse that occurred seven years ago and how to capitalize on it. “We didn’t get out ahead of it and take advantage of it,” he said.

“The eclipse is tailormade for MoonPie and this time we are prepared,” he said.

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