I’ve been referred to this Ad Age article about Hershey’s first major foray into brand evangelism and buzz marketing. In relaunching its Take 5 candy bar, the confectionary giant is going with “a full-scale blitz that begins March 13 to tout Take 5’s ‘Taste and Believe’ positioning. Unlike the brand’s 2005 launch, which focused $17 million on traditional TV, the effort includes 69,000 buzz-marketing evangelists and a Web game that plays off Take 5’s TV ads.”
That’s great news! Hershey’s is opening its eyes to the new marketing paradigm. The company is realizing the power of experience over the saturation of eyeballs. Then the article’s following paragraphs (unfortunately) describe the current state of advertising and agency relevance:
Research showed the initial launch campaign from Omnicom Group’s DDB, New York, which focused on the bar’s five ingredients — pretzels, chocolate, peanuts, peanut butter and caramel — was too complex for consumers, who were far more impressed with the bar’s taste….
…The brand’s agency, Havas’ Arnold, New York, won the business in late September based on the idea of offering Hershey a one-stop shop for both its traditional and nontraditional marketing needs. John Staffen, Arnold’s executive creative director and a longtime DDB-er who formerly worked on the Hershey account, said the new approach is designed to further the momentum on the bar’s good initial trial numbers and build on the passion of its loyal consumers through “a more aggressive, focused and targeted effort rather than just an ad campaign.”
So what did Arnold go out and do? Well, hire buzz-spreaders extraordinaire BuzzAgent, of course. Win the business away from a traditional ad agency touting non-traditional capabilities, then hire the mot du jour to do the heavy lifting. Typical.
Boston-based BzzAgent will pull 69,000 brand evangelists out of its database and give them all a butt-load of chocolate bars — to “deliver samples into the hands of prospective buyers in the 18- to 34-year-old range based on the premise Arnold developed that Take 5 is ‘the greatest candy bar ever.’ In addition, Hershey will use its own Web site, thegreatestcandybarever.com, to enlist consumers to sign up to become evangelists, offering those who sign up samples to give to friends and family.”
And not to forget the other latest hot craze: consumer-generated content!
A consumer promotion April 17 through July 31 offers Take 5 fans the chance to submit their own 60-second commercials explaining why Take 5 is the greatest candy bar ever. Consumers will be able to vote on the final five submissions online.
Hershey’s is definitely hitting on all cylinders, here. But is the product good enough? Is it what “18-to-34-year-olds” want? That’s a pretty broad swath of people.
I applaud Arnold for its intitiative and thinking. And I wish wholeheartedly that Take 5 takes off like wildfire. I want all of us wiping away the chocolate goodness off our grinning chins, saluting the success of the brand’s relaunch. Non-traditional marketing is certainly the future, and it takes an old-guard company like Hershey’s to shake up the staggering others. Here’s to their sweet success!