Going for Gold at Retail

Hershey launch includes national and retailer-specific activity tied to Winter Olympics

Hershey Co. debuted its Hershey’s Gold peanut and pretzel caramelized creme candy bar ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

The manufacturer had concocted the new bar – the first Hershey’s bar ever to not contain chocolate – with an eye to its sponsorship after signing a five-year deal in 2015 to support the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams as the official confectionery partner of Team USA.

To firmly tie the Gold candy bar to the excitement surrounding the Winter Games, the manufacturer executed a robust national campaign that included a coupon giveaway via social media each time the U.S. won a gold medal in February or March. Former Olympians Apolo Ohno (speed skating) and Simone Biles (gymnastics) and current sled hockey Paralympian Rico Roman helped promote the product as ambassadors.

Hershey also enlisted retailer support, with the heaviest account-specific activity occurring in the convenience store channel.

7-Eleven served up a cappuccino flavor inspired by the new bar. The Hershey’s Gold cappuccino flavor “mimics the rich, buttery, salty-sweet taste of its namesake candy,” according to a media release from the retailer. The Institute first spotted the cappuccino flavor in January. However, the retailer began working months before the candy bar launched to develop the exclusive cappuccino flavor.

“When Hershey approached us about creating a new cappuccino drink flavored like a delicious new candy bar, we jumped on board,” Shawn Barnes, 7-Eleven senior category manager, said in the release. “Our customers choose 7-Eleven cappuccino and hot chocolate drinks to treat themselves, and our goal is to offer rich, decadent flavors you can’t find anywhere else. Hershey’s Gold is exactly that, and people love it – both as a candy bar and a cappuccino.”

A carousel ad on and in-store translite signs touted the hot beverage. The retailer drummed up additional excitement by offering shoppers a free Hershey’s Gold candy bar with purchase of two same-sized bars. The offer was valid through Feb. 28.

Channel rival Speedway dedicated an in-store rack to stocking the product, outfitting the display with a flashy, gold-colored signage kit communicating a purchase incentive of one free regular-size Hershey’s Gold candy bar with purchase of two king-size versions. The retailer additionally used its social media channels to tout the new product and incentive. A Jan. 11 Facebook update received the most audience engagement, supported by Twitter and Instagram activity.

Meanwhile, Circle K hosted a sweepstakes awarding a Hershey’s Gold cornhole board to one winner; four others get a PopSocket, multicharging cable and stress ball. Consumers entered from Feb. 9-28 by replying to a Feb. 9 Facebook update with the #TasteTheHersheysGold and #SweepstakesEntry hashtags. Posted across Circle K’s regional Facebook pages, the update asked consumers to explain how they’d reach for the gold when they team up with a Hershey’s Gold candy bar. Tampa, Florida-based Social Forces administered.

Earlier, Circle K included Hershey’s Gold among other brands participating in the chain’s “12 Days of Circle K” holiday promotion, which extended a daily offer to loyalty members between Dec. 13-24, 2017. Loyalty members redeemed the offers by scanning a coupon found within the retailer’s mobile application. Sidekick headers and counter rack signs provided in-store support.

While Hershey’s latest launch got a lot of love in the c-store channel, drugstores, dollar stores, mass merchants and supermarkets also provided support.

Walgreens made room for a custom counter unit and sidekick providing prime merchandising space for the bar in its stores. CVS/pharmacy joined with Hershey to run local radio spots and national display ads promoting the launch.

Floorstands dedicated to the bar also were spotted at CVS, ShopRite, Family Dollar and multiple Kroger banners.

Meijer merchandised the product on sidekicks and an endcap outfitted with a dedicated header.

Walmart sampled the bar at select locations from Jan. 25-28, according to an email blast the retailer sent to some customers that was posted by various coupon bloggers.