The Marketing History of Tootsie Roll

Have you ever wondered where the famous Tootsie Roll Industries started? Well, it wasn’t making 64 million chewy chocolate candies a day. The inventor, Leo Hirshfield, was selling hand-wrapped candies in a tiny Brooklyn store in 1896.

Soon after the distribution started, the owner decided to grow by merging with another local candy manufacturer, Stern & Staalberg. Some say that the details of the story may have been dishonest because the candy came on the scene a decade later. Some even argue that his name should be spelled “Hirschfeld” not “Hirshfield.”

Tootsie Roll Today

The Tootsie Roll brand is sold around the world including Europe, Asia, and South, and Central America.

“As all of you know, figuring out how to market to a global audience is critical to the success of any large corporation in today’s global marketplace,” said Ellen Gordon, president and chief operating officer.

Tootsie Roll advertising throughout the years has put in the work to stay relevant and stay a common name in the household. That is including the classic Mr. Owl commercial that raised a very important question.


Almost two generations later, Mr. Owl continues to impact consumers by answering the age-old question, “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”

500 consumers were asked to score Tootsie Roll’s 40-year-old ad across the modern-day metrics of Persuasion and Watchability. What today’s consumers had to say validates their decision to run different versions of the ad for decades.

When compared to the high-production candy commercials of today, the Mr. Owl ad is unmatched. Candy ads of today use green screens and CGI production, rather than the hand-drawn and creative idea of the Tootsie Roll ad. The Mr. Owl commercials have the ability to stand the test of time.

Tootsie Roll Industries is proof that it’s important to change with the times, yes stay relevant, and stick to what works to create something that can withstand generations.

Hannah Verret
Hannah Verret is a Content Developer at Crisp Marketing in Memphis, TN. Hannah has been working in content creation throughout her entire adult career. When Hannah isn't writing or organizing social media posts, she's spending her time reading and loving on her many pets.

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