Effie Case Study: “This is How Texas Does S’mores”

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Effie Case Study: “This is How Texas Does S’mores”

By Ed Finkel - 09/14/2020

Marketer: Hershey Co.

Agency: TPN Retail

Effie Commerce & Shopper Category: Single-Retailer Program: Supermarkets (Winner)

After Texas-based retailer H-E-B took a bite out of the promotional season for s’mores by cutting it back four weeks, Hershey still managed to achieve its annual volume of six-pack chocolate bar sales by playing to local shoppers’ Tex-Mex tastes.

The four-week promotional reduction could have meant a sales shortfall of $58,000. But the “This is How Texas Does S’mores” campaign, created in conjunction with TPN Retail, filled the gap by pairing classic s’mores fixings with ingredients that appealed to the retailer’s shoppers.

Given that s’mores are the cornerstone of Hershey’s summer activations, the brand needed to freshen up its campaign after lackluster sales results in 2018 at H-E-B, which had led to the promotional cutback. Hershey considered the regionality of H-E-B as a Texas-only grocer, which meant surmounting the challenge that summers are so hot that people tend not to gather around the kinds of campfires where s’mores are typically made.

Hershey and TPN also had to bake in the fact that H-E-B shoppers look to the grocery chain to provide them with unique, Texas-only products – and they see s’mores as more generic in that context. But research found that the H-E-B shopper mom does want new ways to create family summer fun. So the brand landed on the regionalized concept of “Sugar + Spice.”

To bring that to life, the partners worked together to put a twist on s’mores that included H-E-B brand tortillas, Hershey’s milk chocolate six-packs, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and marshmallows – a recipe designed to be made over an indoor fire. A collaboration between the sales team and staff in Hershey’s kitchen led to the recipe, which was promoted through articles in H-E-B’s My Texas Life magazine, digital commerce on an HEB.com recipe inspiration page, postings on blogs and social media, and engagement through regional influencers to gain Texas cred. In stores, the campaign included an endcap, secondary four-way rack displays and lug-on signs. Throughout the campaign, the target shopper received inspiration through family-focused, Texas-inspired s’mores ideas, including a quesadilla recipe coloring sheet for children.

Ultimately, the “Sugar + Spice” concept hit home with Texas shoppers. Hershey exceeded its goals for the campaign, boosting orders by 26.4%, retail sales by 25.3%, and unit sales by 7.2% over 2018 as more than half (57%) of H-E-B stores executed the campaign.

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