Oh Henry wants you to ‘crack a wrapper’

Some creative packaging and a social push kicks off a summer of millennial outreach.
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This story has been updated

Oh Henry has been shifting its marketing and media focus to find new consumers since the start of the summer. It kicked off that effort by adding a bit of beer marketing flavour.

The Victoria Day long weekend in May (affectionately known as May Two-Four) is typically seen as the first opportunity to sit on a dock with a case of beer and shake off the winter blahs. Beer brands see a strong sales bump, but the Hershey company saw it as a chance to market its Oh Henry bars beyond the check-out aisle.

“The most Canadian thing ever is beer,” says Azim Akhtar, associate marketing manager for The Hershey Company.

So, the summer-long “Oh Canada” campaign kicked off with special chocolate bar wrappers and a retro-looking online video that played up the beer angle, selling the chocolate bars like a 90s beer ad complete with a two-four case and a cooler full of peanuts.

Anomaly Toronto created the campaign.

An accompanying influencer campaign featured a few faces the brand believes appeal to younger snackers: YouTubers Joey Kidney and Kurtis Conner, and hockey player Paul Bissonnette.

UM is the brand’s media agency of record.

A limited number of two-four cases were given away as a grocery-aisle stunt. The special chocolate bar wrappers have remained on-shelf at selected larger retailers such as Walmart, Loblaws and No Frills in a bid to get noticed by millennials, a priority consumer market for the brand.

Oh Henry leads sales against the likes of Snickers and Mr. Big in Canada, but that’s thanks mostly to older consumers. Akhtar belives that’s due mostly to the pervasive “Oh Hungry? Oh Henry!” campaign that launched in the early 90s.

The new, younger target consumer “over-indexes with sports, beer and hanging out with friends. We found [the two-four] was a perfect way to drive awareness for this campaign,” Akhtar says. “We thought our competitors wouldn’t compete in this space in this way.”

The company reports the influencer campaign attaining a reach of 1.4 million. Other social media work (the videos appeared on Facebook, Instagram and as pre-roll) attained reach of 5.6 million on the back of more than 390,000 views.

Sales results for the start of the campaign haven’t come in yet, but the first quarter of 2017 saw Oh Henry product sales increase by 13% year over year. The primary brand focus – the single chocolate bar – saw sales increase 28% in that period.

Correction: The original version of this story reported that 24-packs of Oh Henry were available at retail. Strategy regrets the error.