Reggie Case Study: “Kit Kat Flavor Launch at Walmart”


Marketer: Hershey Co.

Agency: SheSpeaks and TPN

Reggie Category: Influencer Marketing (Bronze)

It is not easy for candy manufacturers to generate excitement in the weeks following Easter, which is typically when U.S. sales of chocolate peak. The spring holiday season was even more challenging in 2020, as the pandemic moved a significant percentage of candy sales online. Thus, Hershey shifted its strategy for Kit Kat and created new messaging focused on “limited-edition flavors” and “available at Walmart the next time you are there.”

To attract its core Walmart shopper of busy, Millennial moms with kids ages 6 and older, Hershey introduced two limited-edition Kit Kat flavors — Birthday Cake and Apple Pie — and launched the items exclusively at Walmart for 30 days before expanding distribution to other retailers. To capitalize on this exclusivity window, Hershey built an influencer marketing campaign to drive awareness for the new Kit Kat flavors at Walmart.

Working with agencies SheSpeaks and TPN, Hershey used advanced influencer selection methods to identify Kit Kat and Walmart brand passionate influencers who were charged with creating engaging content to increase trial at Walmart. A targeted distribution plan leveraged organic social posts across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and Twitter to further connect with a wider range of the brand’s core shopper. Influencers included Alyson Hannigan of the former TV series “How I Met Your Mother” and Hispanic TV celebrity Barbara Burmudo, both of whom added light-hearted fun to posts that enticed followers to celebrate the small moments with their families during a difficult time.

Birthday Cake and Apple Pie Kit Kat together became the No. 1 everyday limited-edition launch at Walmart in recent history. At a time when impulse item purchases were not in the forefront of shoppers’ minds, influencers drove online and grocery pickup sales, making Kit Kat Birthday Cake Hershey’s No. 2 instant consumable item at Walmart in April and May. Both flavors combined to drive sell-through 10% higher than the established goal.