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Creative

Betty Crocker Reimagines Birthday Cake Rituals with Sound Activated No Blow Candle

To celebrate the brands 100th birthday, Virtue develops the candle after Covid-19 increased the risk of spreading germs

Betty Crocker Reimagines Birthday Cake Rituals with Sound Activated No Blow Candle

Iconic baking brand Betty Crocker, and Virtue, the creative agency by VICE, are today announcing the prototype of the No Blow Candle: a new Covid-friendly candle designed to save the birthday cake ritual. The Betty Crocker No Blow Candle prototype is a sound-activated, interactive LED candle that listens to your celebrations and reacts with lighting. So instead of blowing, you clap to make it light up all the way - and that’s when you make your wish.

Created in celebration of Betty Crocker's 100th birthday, the No Blow Candle prototype has been designed to ensure that the birthday cake ritual of singing and celebration is not lost due to the pandemic. New research has shown that whilst 94 percent of parents believe that the cake is crucial to birthday parties, one in two parents (58 percent) said blowing out the candles on a cake was not COVID friendly, due to the risk of spreading germs, and 32 percent of parents would no longer let their children eat cake that has been blown on. A research study published in the Journal of Food Research showed that by blowing out candles you actually increase bacteria by 1400%.

Arnaud Sliwa from Betty Crocker, explains: “Unfortunately the pandemic has meant a few traditions have been lost, and blowing out candles is one of them. Our research tells us however that the cake is not lost, in fact it’s still very much at the heart of the party.  Our germ-free candle solution reacts to singing and clapping. Give it all you got to light it up completely, make your wish — and then extinguish it with a single clap, no blowing required. This way, families can lose the germs, but keep the cake. Call it our 100th birthday present to the world! We’ve imagined it as a way to lose the germs but keep the cake.”

Betty Crocker partnered with creative agency Virtue on the research, concept and development of the Betty Crocker No Blow Candle.

Tao Thomsen, senior creative at Virtue says: “Covid came with many challenges, but it also allowed us to rethink some very fundamental human behaviours. With blowing out candles becoming a thing of the past, we reimagined the ritual around one of the most universal expressions of joy and celebration: Clapping.”

The candle gamifies clapping with a clear goal (to light the candle from the bottom to the top). At the heart of the candle sits an Adafruit PCB connected to a circle of LED’s and a microphone. The board is calibrated to respond to noise thresholds corresponding to singing and clapping. Each of these trigger a different lighting pattern: A soft, pulsing glow for singing, and a rapidly rising illumination for clapping. The latter culminates in a strobing pattern to indicate completion of the cycle — and the ritual.

Parties are set to boom following the complete easing of lockdown, with 81 percent of parents stating that their children missed having a party due to lockdown, and almost half (49 percent) of parents planning catchup parties - these parties are taking place on average four months after their birthday took place, and Betty Crocker wants to ensure they will live up to the expectations.

The Betty Crocker No Blow candle currently exists as a prototype. To express your interest in a final product, submit suggestions or sign up for news, visit here.  


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Client: General Mills (Betty Crocker)

Client Team: Arjoon Bose & Aristotelis Pantopoulos

Senior Copywriter: Tao Thomsen

Art Director: Chrissy Smith

Exec Creative Director, Northern Europe: Morten Grubak

Editor: Max Siegal

Designer: Francois Andrivet

Senior Producer: Bruno Carvalho

Head of Production, Northern Europe: Heidi Baltzer

Head of Account Management: Jenny Bust

Senior Account Director: Mirrelle Rank

Account Director: Millie Forrest

Production Partner: Lucid Pro

Category: Cooking ingredients , Food

Genre: People