Hershey's Easter Push: Two Brands Are Better Than One

An interview with Tashima Garner, Senior Associate Brand Manager of Easter at The Hershey Company

Author: Maria Minsker

April 13, 2017

The Hershey Company is a well-known chocolate powerhouse any day of the year, but around Easter, the brand doubles down to promote its seasonal, egg-shaped treats. In the past, Hershey’s took a traditional approach—an email marketing push to introduce seasonal products to media contacts. This year, however, the company decided to shake things up by partnering two of its biggest brands—Reese’s and Cadbury—to introduce new products directly to consumers in a series of Facebook videos. Tashima Garner, senior associate brand manager of Easter at Hershey’s, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about the decision to experiment with social video.

eMarketer: How was Hershey’s approach to its Easter campaign different this year than in previous years?

Tashima Garner: The biggest difference this year is that it’s our first time partnering two of our brands. We’ve traditionally just done a very high-level public relations push around Easter to talk about new products that were coming out during the season. Plus, our top brands, Reese’s and Cadbury, always had separate media programs for the season. This year we said, “Why not do something cool together?”

eMarketer: What did the campaign entail?

Garner: One thing that we know about Easter is that consumers love Reese’s eggs because the ratio of peanut butter to chocolate is unique compared to the everyday Reese’s peanut butter cup. We know that consumers look forward to them every year, so we wanted to give them what they expected but in a fun, humorous way.

“This year, we went with Facebook because we knew we wanted to drive reach, and Facebook is the proven platform for that.”

At the same time, the Cadbury bunny is also an Easter staple. That’s why creating videos featuring the Reese’s egg and the Cadbury bunny in a series of funny encounters was the perfect way to launch this campaign.

eMarketer: How did you determine that videos would be the best way to drive engagement for this campaign?

Garner: We wanted to create content that would be shareable and that consumers would engage with and comment on. Video is a very shareable format—we know that consumers are constantly sharing videos on their phones through Facebook and other social media platforms. Video made the most sense because we wanted to get consumers talking.

eMarketer: You shared the videos on Facebook. Did you consider sharing campaign content on any other social platforms, such as Snapchat?

Garner: It’s definitely possible in the future. This year, we went with Facebook because we knew we wanted to drive reach, and Facebook is the proven platform for that. With that said, Hershey’s does test and learn across different social platforms, and we are open to seeing how other platforms could make sense for video engagement efforts like this.

eMarketer: What has engagement been like so far?

Garner: When I last checked, we had over 280,000 views on Facebook, which is a good number considering the video has only been live for two days.

“The next step will be to see how we do at the retail level. Will those eggs fly off the shelf?”

When we compare it to other Reese’s content that we’ve seen posted in the past four to five days, we’re outperforming older content. Reese’s is the official candy sponsor of NCAA March Madness, and the Easter video just outperformed the victory post Reese’s shared as part of its NCAA program, so I consider this a first-time success for us.

The next step will be to see how we do at the retail level. Will those eggs fly off the shelf as a result of promoting products directly to consumers rather than using a public relations push to the media?

eMarketer: If this is a sales success, does that mean you’ll consider pairing up brands for campaigns more often?

Garner: This has definitely proven that we want to do more partnerships between brands, even if it is on a seasonal basis. Next season, we’re going to see how we can optimize and do something even bigger to amplify the conversation.

We absolutely already see the value in combining resources, so we will definitely be doing this again. The question will be how big can we make it next year?

Photo Credit: The Hershey Company