Friday, March 26, 2010
Hershey originally picked ReeseSticks as the most promising contender among a field of four new products made with wafers and peanut butter. The company spent three years conducting focus groups, distributing free samples in locations such as shopping malls, and surveying several hundred consumers as it adjusted the recipe to achieve the most popular balance of chocolate, peanut butter, and wafers. Hundreds of names, including ‘‘Reeskies,’’ were considered before the product was christened. The New York office of Ogilvy & Mather created advertisements that emphasized the new line extension’s taste, texture, and connection to the familiar Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. In a 15-second television commercial called ‘‘Sawmill,’’ the blade of a buzzsaw—shaped like a round Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on its side—sliced a crisp wafer in half. The chocolate and peanut butter of the blade melted in the process and coated the divided wafer to form two ReeseSticks. The commercial included the tag line ‘‘The Crisp You Can’t Resist!’’ The Los Angeles Times said that during the week of April 13-19, commercials for ReeseSticks aired 16 times on daytime network television, placing the message in 70 million homes. In addition to television commercials, the national launch of ReeseSticks in February 1998 was supported by advertisements in magazines such as People, and Sports Illustrated. More than 10 million samples of the product were given away at retail outlets, and 40 million coupons were either attached to the product’s packaging or inserted in Parade magazine in April. Standard packages of ReeseSticks sold for about 50 cents, but to encourage consumers to sample the new candy, trial-size ReeseSticks were priced at 25 cents for a short time after the product’s launch. Beginning in April some of the product’s packaging featured a tie-in to the motion picture Godzilla, which was scheduled for release on Memorial Day. When the National Football League season started, Hershey included ReeseSticks in its second annual $1 Million Kick promotion, which offered consumers an opportunity to kick a field goal during the Super Bowl. ‘‘The Crisp You Can’t Resist’’ ad ran in conjunction with the popular ‘‘There’s No Wrong Way to Eat a Reese’s’’ campaign, which promoted Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and the Reese’s brand in general. Hershey sometimes alternated the two campaigns in consecutive issues of magazines such as Reader’s Digest. Advertising Age reported that Hershey spent $86.2 million to advertise its candies in 1998, up from $84.5 million in 1997, with $60.6 million going toward television commercials and $23.3 million going toward print ads. Hershey budgeted an estimated $15 million for ‘‘The Crisp You Can’t Resist!’’ in 1998.