Mars expands "Chocolatier" effort

MT. ARLINGTON, NJ: Mars Snackfood US is amping up its online outreach, starting April 6, to recruit more consumers to become grassroots marketers for the company's Dove Chocolate Discoveries (DCD) program.

MT. ARLINGTON, NJ: Mars Snackfood US is amping up its online outreach, starting April 6, to recruit more consumers to become grassroots marketers for the company's Dove Chocolate Discoveries (DCD) program.

In becoming a “chocolatier,” consumers serve as brand advocates selling exclusive DCD products, hosting chocolate parties, and creating networks of other chocolatiers.

This program, which began last fall, currently has about 1,000 chocolatiers. Through the new social media effort, the company hopes to double the number of its participants, said Ryan Bowling, PR manager for Mars Snackfood US.

The brand team, including DCD and Dove brand AOR Brand Building Communications, will speak to potential chocolatiers through the branded DCD Sweetie profiles on Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook.

The brand team will seek to personify the qualities that make a successful chocolatier, such as a “love for chocolate, parties, going out, and entertaining,” Bowling said.

It will target bloggers and online communities focusing on chocolate, food, entertaining and direct selling, with posts to forums and message boards, he added.

“Through these communities, we want [consumers] to look at the different avenues, through which they can become ‘chocolatiers'… and we [will] look to increase discussions and drive SEO,” Bowling said.

The team will also create content for other venues, including YouTube and Flickr.

Another objective for the campaign is to drive traffic to the DCD Web site, along with learning more about its consumer targets and current chocolatiers.

“The WOM [campaign] provides us with an opportunity to listen to consumer feedback, which is a big portion of our strategy,” Bowling noted.

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