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Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

DQ - Blizzard Candles V2

Finalist in Physical & Digital


DQ competes in a highly competitive category among fast food giants such as McDonald's, Burger King, Starbucks and Dunkin’. While these QSR juggernauts outspend and outsize DQ, DQ has something money can’t buy: the hearts of consumers. In a recent Morning Consult survey, DQ was voted the “#27 Most Loved Brand in America,” ahead of Disney and Chick-fil-A. 

It’s easy to see why people love DQ –– the DQ brand is built around a simple idea of helping people choose happy. DQ gives fans the happiest moments through food and treats, and has made rotating seasonal treat menus central to this commitment to creating happiness throughout the year. 

While signature soft serve and world-famous Blizzard Treats have made DQ a summertime staple, DQ treats face significant competition each fall as cool treats give way to baked goods and coffee concoctions, especially the (in)famous pumpkin spice latte. The DQ Fall Blizzard Menu aims to fend off the competition by making DQ the HQ of fall’s favorite flavors. For its third year, the 2020 menu featured a lineup of autumn crowd pleasers including Pumpkin Pie and Caramel Apple Pie Blizzard Treats.

Strategy and Execution

So how could DQ launch the Fall Blizzard Treat Menu in a way that keeps DQ’s cool treats top of mind amidst the fierce onslaught led by the pumpkin spice coffee craze?

Simple: DQ would control the coffee table to keep coffee shop competition at bay. DQ recognized America is obsessed with fall. It’s all about the leaves, the cozy sweaters, and of course, the treats. But nowhere does that passion for fall burn brighter than with fall-scented candles. Scented candles are a $3 billion category, and 70% of all sales occur between October and December.

Taking inspiration from fall’s seasonal symbol –– scented candles –– DQ appealed to millions of the seasonally obsessed with a line of Fall Blizzard treats for their noses. Meet the Fall Blizzard Treat Candle Collection: 6 flavor-inspired scents, including Oreo Mocha Fudge, Brownie Dough, Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough, Choco-dipped Strawberry, Caramel Apple Pie and of course, Pumpkin Pie. Each candle served as a 60-hour reminder of DQ’s fall flavors made with world famous soft serve. Better yet, all proceeds from the sales would be donated to DQ’s longtime partner, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, to provide lifesaving medical care to children.

The Fall Blizzard Treat Candle Collection took visual inspiration from the season, but with a DQ twist. The candle packaging was designed to look like an actual Blizzard Treat, featuring a branded cobalt blue candle jar, imitating the iconic Blizzard cup. The jars were topped with lids featuring photo real images of the tops of the Blizzard flavors

And the candle scents themselves were directly inspired by those flavors. This was achieved through countless wafts, whiffs and sniffs of different scent formulas, to create the unique experience of not eating a Blizzard but smelling one. 

The Fall Blizzard Candle collection was promoted across DQ social channels. Including a six-hour Facebook Live “lighting ceremony” that ushered in fall by lighting the first fall candle of the season. The livestream set DQ social channels ablaze–– our 14.65% engagement rate was 655% above benchmark –– as fans clamored for this amazing, aromatic collection. In all, Fall Blizzard Candle social posts drove fans to a microsite where they claimed their set, which came in a Fall Blizzard branded box that was front and center in countless unboxing videos.


The campaign garnered over 87 million earned impressions. DQ even received an unpaid feature on Jimmy Fallon’s “Thank You Notes,” reaching the program’s millions of nightly viewers. The candles were so popular all available sets sold out within 3 minutes of launching the site — thus successfully igniting America’s fall obsession, helping Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and leaving thousands saying, “Finally, a blizzard treat for my nose!”


Video for DQ - Blizzard Candles V2

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Barkley, Dairy Queen

Entry Credits