HERSHEY, PA: Reese’s is making light of complaints that its Christmas-tree-shaped Peanut Butter Cups look like "turds" by reminding customers that "all trees are beautiful."
The holiday treats began appearing on store shelves just before Thanksgiving. However, they were quickly followed by headlines showcasing consumers’ disappointment with the non-tree-like shape of the chocolates.
The brand quickly sprung into action to let consumers know they were listening, said Anna Lingeris, the Hershey Company’s senior manager of communications.
She explained that the brand chose to participate in the conversation in a "positive, fun, and light-hearted way" to demonstrate it has a sense of humor – while also reminding consumers the goodies are delicious.
"We recognize that all of our trees are not exactly alike, just like real Christmas trees," Lingeris said. "We wanted to address these comments with our own personal take on what makes all trees special while reminding them that it’s the same delicious Reese’s chocolate and peanut butter shapes that you know and love. In the end, we love all of our trees."
On Tuesday, Reese’s created the hashtag #AllTreesAreBeautiful, along with images illustrating the cause, as a "rallying cry" for consumers who are fans of the treat and wanted to show their support, she said.
REESE'S celebrates trees of all shapes and sizes. It's not what it looks like, it's what it tastes like. pic.twitter.com/8KURar00UX— REESE'S (@ReesesPBCups) December 2, 2015
Reese’s social media team has also responded directly to consumers who mocked the out-of-shape trees on Twitter.
Hours after beginning to wage its social media campaign, Lingeris said Reese’s saw headlines move on from the "turd" angle to more positive sentiments about how the brand handled the situation.
For instance, Refinery 29 posted a story with the headline, "Reese’s responds to its recent controversy in the best way possible," and E! Online wrote, "Reese’s plays off wonky peanut butter Christmas trees with hilarious response."
Twitter users were also pleased with Reese’s response.
Hershey’s in-house communications and social teams handled the response, with collaboration with the Reese’s team. The company’s agency partners at Arnold Worldwide and Havas Worldwide worked on the social creative.
Aside from Christmas trees, Reese’s has other versions of its Peanut Butter Cups in holiday shapes, including a heart for Valentine’s Day, an egg for Easter, and a pumpkin for Halloween.
"It’s important to remember that [Reese’s seasonal] products are not solid chocolate that are made in moulds but rather are a soft peanut butter centers that are enrobed in chocolate -- a process which can create a less distinct shape," Lingeris explained.