NEW YORK Hershey this week began airing a TV spot that marks the beginning of its "Pure Hershey's" campaign, which seeks to associate the candy maker's chocolate with feelings of happiness, innocence and simplicity.
The spots touting Hershey's chocolate bar will serve as an umbrella campaign for the company's other top brands, targeting a demographic of 18- to 34-year-olds. The first 30- and 15-second ads, via Havas' Arnold, will run next quarter and into 2009-all aiming to connect Hershey's chocolate with various pleasant emotions.
The current spot is the work of Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations. It takes viewers inside a Hershey's candy bar that melts into an animated scene of a girl on a swing, which morphs into another scene showing the girl and her boyfriend driving in a chocolate convertible. Chocolate bunnies chase the couple as they ride into the sunset and "I Melt With You" by Modern English provides background music. A female voiceover asks: "What makes a Hershey's bar pure?" She then answers: "Pure simplicity," "pure happiness," "pure delicious."
The company's measured media spending was $100 million last year and almost $35 million in the first quarter of this year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.
"The snacking universe has gotten so much bigger and varied and the thing about a Hershey's bar is if you try to line up the attributes on a rational level -- ingredients to ingredients -- you're going to come up short unless we can make something out of that," said John Staffen, Arnold New York chief creative officer. "The emotional ingredients that go into a Hershey's bar are what the campaign tries to play up."
Hershey and Arnold reps did not say which other brands would be part of future "Pure Hershey's" initiatives, but flagship brands such as Reese's, Kisses and Hershey's Dark Chocolate are likely candidates.
The new campaign is the product of a segmentation study conducted by Hershey, which delved into the motives behind snacking and grouped consumers into segments ranging from people who indulge to reward themselves to those who seek functional benefits, including oral care and antioxidants.
Hershey last week reported its best quarter since the third quarter of 2006, having increased sales 5 percent-plus from the year-ago period. Core brands like Hershey's Chocolate, Reese's and new premium items like Hershey's Bliss and Starbuck's Chocolate gained ground. Price hikes also contributed to the sales increase.
Over the past two years, Hershey focused heavily on product extensions at the expense of marketing support and lost sales. David West, Hershey's president and CEO, pledged the company would increase ad support by 20 percent this year and between 25-30 percent next year, with a focus on core brands.
READ ADFREAK'S TAKE ON 'HERSHEY'S PURE'