Candies share a box. Fans share content.

Hot Tamales and Mike and Ike are perennial favorites in movie theaters across America. To celebrate the launch of the highly anticipated movie Warcraft, the brands teamed up to release Battle Blend—a cherry and cinnamon flavored candy.

Market Reality

While both Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales have a loyal following that spans every generation, their partnership with Universal Pictures and Blizzard Entertainment was an opportunity to reconnect with the candy brands’ core audience: gamers and geeks in their teens and twenties.

Market Opportunity

We designed and developed a series of microsites and assets to support Mike and Ike’s and Hot Tamales’ Choose Your Side, Choose Your Trip campaign. The campaign invited fans to submit codes from specially marked boxes online, choose a “side” from the movie, and enter to win a trip to either Stonehenge or Chichen Itza.

Invention Strategy

We recruited influencers, raised awareness on social, and encouraged visitors to share organic content. The contest drew more than 42,000 entries—easily beating the client’s target of 20,000. Of those contestants, 36 percent shared their choice on Facebook or Twitter. Industry standard for engagement, by the way, is right around 10 percent.



A Custom Sweepstakes

Merit designed and developed a custom sweepstakes microsite to drive traffic and entries. The user experience was engaging and fun, while still being intuitive and user friendly. That balance helped the campaign exceed its goals.

1 / 1



Adam Vasquez

What is Market Invention?

It's the new era of marketing.
Market Invention is the process of creating and maintaining market dominance by leveraging insight, purpose, position, and experience to establish, grow, and maintain customer and company value.

Denise Kohnke
COVID-19 CEO Survey

Back when COVID-19 was in its diabolical toddlerhood, circa May 2020, Merit asked CEOs from a diverse pool of sectors about their perceptions of COVID-19, and how they were tangibly handling its impact. These were not P&G, Google, General Motors CEOs, but CEOs of arguably the most important strata in the U.S. economy: small to medium-sized.

Denise Kohnke

CEO Influenza?

If our CEO survey is any indication, the “can-do” spirit is still alive and well. As cultural Venn diagrams representing now and the near future collide – COVID, FLU, ELECTION, BLM – resiliency seems to be many CEO’s medicine du jour.

Adam Vasquez
The Confidence Market

Thanks to COVID-19, we're all relearning how to do the things we were once experts at. We’re relearning our relationships and how we interact. We’re relearning how to be a customer, teacher, CEO, marketer, sales executive, investor, ect. And with everything happening so fast, the relearning curve is extra steep.

Denise Kohnke


What might be the hardest part of being a leader? The expectation of fearlessness, as in the whole “fearless leader” facade. Crushing, isn’t it?

Denise Kohnke


Everyone defaults to denial at some point. It’s the brain’s way of lining up all of our implicit biases and testing them against harsh realities. Ironically, it’s because we’re trying to make sense of things with mental shortcuts. Now, in the time of COVID-19, as we all feel the need to move fast, CEOs might want to be especially mindful of biases, especially the biases that support denial and impede invention during crisis.

Denise Kohnke
COGNITIVELY COVID: The CEO Guide to Acting Fast

You’ve likely heard the term “first movers” in the context of new sector growth. Moving first to take advantage of opportunistic pathways thanks to COVID-19 is almost a new sector unto itself. One website we love,, is a global gathering of hundreds of new products, new apps, new wrinkles to existing services all in the name of the new world.

Adam Vasquez

The 10 Truths of the COVID-19 CEO

In the midst of loosening lockdowns and tightening restrictions, dropping infection rates and second waves, CEOs must adjust to new truths in changed industries. During many conversations with my peers, a few of those truths have surfaced time and again.

Harrisburg Office
121 Locust Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101
Portland Office
917 SW Oak Street #417, Portland, OR 97205
Washington D.C. Office
2214 Rock Hill Road, Herndon, VA 20170