Yes, we are the candle company that put up a billboard on the exit of a major highway in our hometown of Lancaster, PA that said "Sorry Travis, Jason is right: most candles are bad."
Why would we do such a thing?
Two weeks ago on their New Heights Podcast, the NFL famous Kelce brothers bantered about how candle companies were creating “Smells Like Travis Kelce” candles. Jason then revealed his disdain for scented candles in a clip that has now gone viral: "There's no way that's healthy for you. There's no way chemicals being burned by a flame and going into the air to the point that you can smell them is good for you. There's no chance." Travis countered that he was indifferent, and that he didn’t think it matters.
This clip has received over 3.3 million views on Instagram and 453k views on Youtube.
Our Founders, Katie and Eric Roering, are well versed in the conversation surrounding the health implications of synthetic fragrance candles. They discovered this in 2017 when a friend gave them a name-brand candle as a gift and made them both sick. Eric embarked on extensive research into the world of candles and fragrance and which chemicals were making them feel ill.
Our company was born as a date night hobby, as the couple wanted to make a truly natural candle that aligned with their health conscious lifestyle. In 2019, Fontana became the first candle to be independently verified as non-toxic by MADE SAFE® .
This certification helped to catapult Fontana into the natural living space as the truly healthy candle. The team at Fontana are no strangers to going viral, as a focus on organic social media is what grew their company from a hobby in their basement to a business with 11 employees working in a 6500 square foot facility.
Katie who is the head of Marketing at Fontana stated, “We started this company completely bootstrapped, and needed word of mouth to grow it as we did not have any budget for marketing. We leaned in hard to edgy video content about the ingredients in scented candles, especially dangerous chemicals like benzene and styrene. It worked, as we now have over 55k followers on Instagram. We did a quick re-post of the New Heights podcast clip and that reel did close to 50k views, but we knew we could do more with this. Being the leader in this space, we need to be in this candle conversation with the Kelces.”
Katie reached out to Kelce’s agent, who confirmed that he really has no interest in doing any candle marketing, or representing any candle brands. Katie then floated the idea of the billboard to them, and they gave the Roerings the green light to proceed with this campaign.
Fontana got the go-ahead to move forward with the billboard on the Monday before the Super Bowl, and the goal was to get it live on the day of the big game.
Katie explains what "We had one week to find a billboard with availability, design the billboard, get the landing page live, and to craft press releases for both local and national media. It was our first time ever doing a campaign like this, and it was a challenge."
She thinks it is important to understand the why behind the campaign: “We are not doing this campaign to sell candles. We are doing it to further our mission of educating about chemicals in candles. The candle industry hides this information from the consumer, and does not seem to have any interest in the health of the consumer, and what they are breathing in. Most people see the names of the candle scents and think that their candles are full of flowers, fruit, and other natural oils. The reality is a stark difference of containing many of the same chemicals that are in pesticides, rubber, paint thinner, and toilet bowl cleaner. We thank Jason for talking about this topic, and bringing it into the mainstream. This billboard campaign will help solidify his message,” states Katie.
The billboard instructs viewers to go to the website fragranceisbad.com which is a landing page that shares all of the research that supports Fontana’s stance on the importance of transparency when it comes to fragrance ingredients. If one person learns something new about the ingredients in fragrance, then it was worth the time and expense.
We do have our fingers crossed though that Jason sees this campaign, and can tell his brother that he was right. If he can do it on the podcast, in front of millions of fans, that will be even better.