Year number two: How Reese's switched strategy for 2016 Chocolate Tree criticism

The company decided not to do #AllTreesAreBeautiful, Part Two. Instead, it's having a conversation with critics who are comparing chocolate trees to turds again this year.

HERSHEY, PA: Reese’s Christmas-tree-shaped Peanut Butter Cups are back on store shelves, and just like last year, consumers think they look like "turds." Yet this time, Reese’s communications team was prepared for critics to make a big stink about its product.

Last year, the brand made light of complaints that the product looked like the number two by reminding customers that "all trees are beautiful." It created the hashtag #AllTreesAreBeautiful, along with images illustrating the cause.

The social media campaign was inspired by loyal fans who love Reese’s regardless of what they look like, said Ryan Riess, senior brand manager for Reese’s.

"Last year, when the first comments and complaints created a media frenzy, we noticed that many consumers were sending messages of support for these perfectly imperfect shapes—because they simply are delicious," he said. "Many consumers patiently wait for holiday season just to get that inimitable chocolate and peanut butter shape that only Reese’s can provide."

Although the brand’s response last year garnered praise from consumers and the media, Riess said the brand wanted to take a different approach this year. In other words, it did not want to do #AllTreesAreBeautiful, Part Two, he noted.

And when Reese’s posted its first gif on social media about its Trees, comments comparing the chocolates to "poo" and "turds" stared pouring in.

Yet this time, the brand decided to have a conversation with fans, Riess explained.

"It’s our fans who dictate what we talk about and how we respond," he said. "It’s part of our culture, it’s part of our brand, and it’s part of our DNA. We have a fun and witty personality and we are simply happy to spread our version own version of holiday cheer in 2016."

Here’s how Reese’s is trying to kill its critics with kindness and humor this holiday season.

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