Latest Hershey's launch takes flight

A branded hot air balloon helped The Hershey Company and long-time agency JSH&A Public Relations launch Air Delight, aerated chocolate bars, and Hershey's Kisses.

Client: The Hershey Company (Hershey, PA)
Agency: JSH&A Public Relations (Oakbrook Terrace, IL)
Campaign: Hershey's Air Delight Chocolate Launch
Duration: July – September 2011
Budget: $230,000 to $270,000

A branded hot air balloon helped The Hershey Company and long-time agency JSH&A Public Relations launch Air Delight, aerated chocolate bars and Hershey's Kisses, last summer.

“We were the first major company to launch an aerated chocolate in the US, and we needed a unique way to capture the essence of the product,” says Anna Lingeris, manager of global brand PR and consumer engagement at The Hershey Company.

“The hot air balloon brought to life the light and airy eating experience and [provided] a great visual,” explains agency SVP Cheryl Georgas.

The balloon was part of a media and blogger tasting event just ahead of The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, where it was also used to engage consumers.

Journalists and bloggers were flown from Manhattan via chartered helicopter to the balloon in New Jersey. Lingeris notes the helicopter was a strategic choice, providing another “light and airy and largely unique experience” for journalists and bloggers.

Social media outreach also drove awareness.

Fourteen reporters from top-tier general consumer outlets and 11 food, lifestyle, and mommy bloggers attended the tasting on July 28. Lingeris explained aeration and its effect on the chocolate during 10 tethered flights. Four in-house brand reps talked with journalists and bloggers on the ground.

Attendees were encouraged to post content to their social media pages during the flights. They were given branded insulated coolers with Air Delight samples to take home and a link to event photos and videos.

Product information and event videos were also posted to Hershey's and Hershey's Kisses Facebook pages.

Press releases and kits including samples were sent to additional media and bloggers after the July 28 tasting.

During the festival (July 29-31), the balloon made multiple daily flights and gave consumers tethered rides. Samples were distributed at a branded booth and at festival exits.

Lingeris reports Air Delight has helped increase equity and reinvigorate the Hershey's franchise and Kisses brand.

“The Kisses brand as a whole is exceeding sales projections now, and Air Delight is obviously helping,” she says.

More than 35,000 samples were distributed at the balloon festival, which was attended by 175,000.

Audience reach on both Facebook pages exceeds 5.2 million.

The campaign garnered 143 placements (more than 59 million impressions) in outlets such as Good Day New York (Fox 5), Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Gothamist.

The team is preparing for additional new product launches and a March 30 Reese's College All Star Game.

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