Friday, March 26, 2010
The Hershey Company acquired the H.B. Reese Candy Company in 1963, and with the acquisition came a popular peanut-butter-filled, chocolate-coated candy, Reese’s peanut butter cups. The Reese’s brand expanded over time to include Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups, Reese’s Nutrageous candy bar, and Reese’s Pieces, which in 1982 were made famous as the preferred treat of a lovable alien in the movie E.T. the Extraterrestrial. For almost 20 years, from 1969 to 1988, Hershey promoted its Reese’s peanut butter cups with the familiar tagline ‘‘Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together’’ and with humorous television spots. That changed after research revealed that people had developed various methods of eating Reese’s peanut butter cups.
After reviewing the research, the company’s ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather of New York, created a series of humorous TV spots and print ads that emphasized the unique character of peanut butter cups and the people who ate them. Themed ‘‘There’s No WrongWay to Eat a Reese’s,’’ the campaign began in 1988, with new advertisements introduced each year through the 1990s. Some played up the shape or composition of the candy, while others hinged entirely on the traits of the person eating the peanut butter cup. One print ad depicted four Reese’s peanut butter cups with bites taken out of them to make them look like the four phases of the moon. The caption said, ‘‘I eat them in phases. (Richard Chandler, Astronomer).’’ The positive reactions to the new campaign showed that, while its long-running predecessor was a success, consumers had been ready for a change. As the ‘‘There’s No Wrong Way to Eat a Reese’s’’ campaign continued what would become a nearly 15-year run, studies conducted by the agency revealed that consumers enjoyed the ads, related to them, and connected them with the Reese’s brand. In the late 1990s an agency executive commented that, even after 10 years, the campaign ‘‘really worked.’’