Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 21 No. 1
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Let's Go Reese's

The Hershey Co. brand Reese’s is the official candy partner of the NCAA and in the past has done a lot of the typical activation strategies: on-site presence at major events, sweepstakes, and title sponsorship of the college all-star game now held on the Friday of Final Four weekend.

But seeking to take the partnership in a new direction following a multiyear contract renewal last summer, the candy brand this year created the Let’s Go Reese’s content hub. The website features a variety of video vignettes of college life, particularly as it intersects with sports; recipes involving peanut butter cups; and various online games and activities.

The Reese's brand is lightly woven into stories about life in and around college sports.

Developed with the aid of Reese’s official sports agency of record, GMR Marketing, the content hub takes a far more subtle approach to branding. Rather than overtly slamming users with a message of consuming Reese’s, the brand is more lightly woven into the various stories of fandom and life in and around college sports.

“The idea is to bring the college sports experience to life in a more lifestyle-oriented way,” said Anna Lingeris, Hershey’s senior manager of brand public relations and consumer engagement. “We’re never going to replicate the content on ESPN or Sports Illustrated, nor should we. But we’re trying to infuse Reese’s and college basketball in a more authentic way. We’re celebrating what it means to be a fan.”

The video clips, hosted by comedian and actor Joey Bland, also represent some of the initial efforts of Freshwire, the digital content creation joint venture formed by GMR and sister outfit Fleishman-Hillard.

“We’re still scratching the surface of where this can go,” said Brian Gainor, Freshwire director of strategy and analytics. “There are many more schools, more events where we’re taking this concept.”

Lingeris agreed, saying Reese’s is evaluating plans to keep the online content hub active during the next college football season. Also under consideration is whether to begin incorporating user-generated content into the hub.

“The changes have to be organic, but that’s the great part of this,” she said. “This is a destination that can live and breathe and take a variety of new directions.”