Do not join Reese’s secret society

The Hershey brand uses exclusivity and intrigue to draw in consumers who are buying primarily from well-loved confectionery brands.

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Reese has created a covert way to reward the most passionate fans of its brand, keeping it top of mind during a time when consumers are largely purchasing chocolate brands they already love.

In a new campaign, the Hershey brand has created a “secret society” – though, like any good secret society, it is denying that it even exists. This is despite the fact that hidden messages seem to be appearing in a lot of Reese’s social assets lately, or even posts from other chocolate brands (which may or may not have been created just for this campaign).

TRS_insta_nailsBut if the society did exist, the brand would tell members to signal their love of Reese by doing things like painting its logo into their nails, changing their Instagram handle to include the brand’s name or writing and performing a song about peanut butter cups. If it’s deemed worthy to be accepted, they’ll be given branded swag, like a hooded Reese robe, or access to extra seasonal products.

“There’s that exclusivity appeal where consumers want to get involved – they always want to be the first, always want to get that exclusive thing, whatever it may be,” says Azim Akhtar, marketing manager at Reese, an insight that is particularly true for its millennial target, which is still seen as its biggest growth opportunity.

Reese Society members will also provide the brand with ideation for future product innovations, Akhtar says. This will enable the brand to get direct access to insights that will better resonate with its consumer base, and possibly beyond.

“All of that stuff really fuels the consumer engagement – us actively communicating with them, getting them engaged, and then, having that intrigue for them to join something that’s very exclusive,” Akhtar says. “We’re really asking consumers to participate within our brand.”

And the strategy seems to be working. The campaign launched at the end of August, but website views have exceeded the target for the entire campaign by 380%, with a clickthrough rate that is 87% higher than the brand average. What’s more, Reese’s Instagram and Twitter followers grew by 17% and 15%, respectively, during the first two weeks of this campaign.

The Reese Society campaign looks to address some broader challenges that are being felt across the confectionary category at this time, and one that Reese has encountered: driving consumer engagement and advocacy around brands, and ensuring the brand is at the forefront for consumers. Results from an April Field Agent Report suggest that Canadians spent less this year on confectionary products, especially around typically lucrative holidays like Easter and Halloween.

Akhtar says that, right now, the company has seen that consumers are mostly purchasing well-recognized and credible chocolate brands. Reese, being a legacy brand, fits in that trend, but still needs to keep it top-of-mind.

“For us, we’re truly trying to deliver an emotional connection with our brand, and our consumers, to help build our long term loyalty and continue to build our brand,” Akhtar says.

The campaign has paid social, as well as influencer and lifestyle publication partnerships. It was created by Anomaly, with the media buy handled by UM Canada.