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There’s more than one way to a consumer’s heart. . .

 

The Hershey Company did not incorporate media advertising for its products until the company was over 75 years old.  Even though Hershey Chocolate Company did not advertise in newspapers, magazines or on the radio, it made use of a variety of advertising techniques.  Milton Hershey made use of store windows, counters and posters in trains and trolleys.  His packaging also promoted his products.  Check out some of these examples of early Hershey slogans:

 

Beginning with the first Hershey Chocolate products, packaging carried advertising slogans such as “More Sustaining than Meat” and “A Sweet to Eat.”

 

  

Bar wrapper for Hershey's Milk Chocolate.  1903-1905

Bar wrapper for Hershey's Milk Chocolate. 1903-1905

  

 

   

 Later bar wrappers included advertisements for Hershey’s Cocoa.

 

  

 

 

Bar wrapper for Hershey's Milk Chocolate, ca.1912-1926

Bar wrapper for Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar. ca. 1912-1926

 

 

 

  

 

 During the Hershey Chocolate Company’s early years, it inserted specially sized postcards in standard size Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars.  These postcards featured scenes from the chocolate factory , dairy farms that supplied much of the milk used to produce milk chocolate and also images of the community’s recreational facilities.  Other Hershey Chocolate “bar cards” can been seen on the Hershey Community Archives website.

 

  

 

 

 

Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar cards such as this were included with standard size milk chocolate bars between 1909-1918.

Postcards such as this were included with standard size Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars between 1909 and 1918.

 

 

 

   

 

Salesmen created massive displays of product to attract attention and advertise special promotions. 
 

 

 

 

 

Sidewalk candy display created by a Hershey Chocolate salesman for Leftoff's Retail Store, Bronx, New York.  1938

Sidewalk candy display created by a Hershey Chocolate salesman for Leftoff's Retail Store, Bronx, New York. 1938

 

 

 

 

Hershey Chocolate Company made effective use of displays in store windows, counters and aisles:

 

 

 

 

Hershey Chocolate Corporation store window display.  ca.1930-1932

Hershey Chocolate Corporation store window display, ca.1930-1932

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hershey Chocolate in-store display.  ca.1945-1950

Hershey Chocolate in-store display. ca.1945-1950

 

 

 

  

In smaller stores, special counter displays were used to promote Hershey’s products.
 

 

 

 

 

Hershey Chocolate store counter display.  ca.1920-1925

Hershey Chocolate store counter display. ca.1920-1925

 

 

 

 

 

  
For several decades these methods were effective ways to market the United States “great American chocolate bar.”  However, beginning in the 1960s, these methods were no longer enough and Hershey Chocolate began losing market share.   In response to growing competition, Hershey Foods Corporation launched its first media advertising campaign in 1970. 

Advertising Hershey Chocolate

One of the great myths in the advertising industry is that Hershey Chocolate did not begin  advertising until 1970.  Although the Corporation generally did not use consumer media advertising such as newspaper and magazine ads, or radio and television commercials, it did employ a variety of techniques to publicize itself. 

Hershey Chocolate Corporation offered store window displays to its customers to help them promote Hershey products.  ca. 1936

Hershey Chocolate Corporation offered store window displays to its customers to help them promote Hershey products. ca. 1936

Hershey Chocolate used its advertising dollars to promote its products to the stores and outlets that would sell Hershey’s products.  Hershey also believed in advertising its products where consumers could purchase them and created elaborate and often whimsical store window sets and in-store product displays that featured product in bountiful arrangements.  

Hershey Chocolate Corporation distributed charts such as this to schools to help them teach students about making chocolate.  1944

Hershey Chocolate Corporation distributed charts such as this to schools to help them teach students about making chocolate. 1944

In addition to store and window displays, it published a variety of educational pamphlets  and other materials that described the process of making milk chocolate and promoted the company.  The very first pamphlets appeared a few years after the factory began operations.  These pamphlets promoted the town and linked the success of the company with the model industrial town. 

 

Recipe pamphlets offered cooks new recipes using Hershey products.  Hershey's Syrup recipe pamphlet, ca.1936-1945

Recipe pamphlets offered cooks new recipes using Hershey products. Hershey's Syrup recipe pamphlet, ca.1936-1945

Hershey Chocolate Company published cooking pamphlets beginning about 1915 as a way to promote the use of its products and introduced its first cookbook about 1922.  One of the most far reaching advertising techniques Hershey employed was creating and inserting specially sized postcards, in standard-sized milk chocolate bars to promote the company and the town.  The postcards showed scenes of factory operations, diary farms that illustrated milk chocolate wholesome ingredients, and attractive view of Milton Hershey’s model town. These postcards were distributed nationally and found their way around the world.  In the Archives collections you can find postcards with postmarks from China, Alaska, Mexico and France. 

 

Hershey Chocolate Corporation promotional films featured the town of Hershey as well as the chocolate factory and Hershey products.  1932

Hershey Chocolate Corporation promotional films featured the town of Hershey as well as the chocolate factory and Hershey products. 1932

The desire to promote the company and the town eventually led to Hershey Chocolate Corporation to underwrite the production of a series of movies that promoted the products and the town.  In 1932 the company produced a 48-minute educational film that described chocolate production and the model town made possible by the success of Hershey’s milk chocolate. This film was shown primarily in schools.  The following year two films were produced: “Seeing Wonders,” a movie short promoted Hershey as a travel destination and the “Chocolatetown Review,” another short film that featured Hershey Chocolate products as marionettes in a vaudeville style show.  Both of these films would have been seen as “shorts” shown in movie theaters before the feature film.  World War II and the death of Milton Hershey in 1945 ended the company’s exploration of new advertising techniques.

Ringing in the Holidays: Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates

In 1989 John Dunn was Hershey Chocolate brands manager for Kisses.  Hershey was working on a new marketing campaign for Kisses , sometimes referred to as the Kisses “whimsy” campaign.  Working with Ogilvy Mather, a series of animated Kisses commercials were planned utilizing tabletop stop-motion animation and CG product photography.

 

Ogilvy Mather was the agency of record for the Hershey’s Kisses brand and David Apicella, was the Creative Director who discovered and contracted the production company, Colossal Pictures in San Francisco to produce the commercials.  Carl Willat served as Director for the commercials, and he and Gordon Clark creatively performed the animation that brought this campaign to life.

 

John Dunn traveled to San Francisco to oversee the development of the commercials.  John remembered that there was still time left when the planned Kisses commercials were completed and he asked Carl Willat and Gordon Clark to develop a holiday commercial for Kisses.  Even though he didn’t have authorization to create this commercial, John felt confident that he could sell it to his boss.

 

The creative idea of Kisses performing as hand bells in a bell-choir fashion was developed to play “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.  To reinforce the whimsy and innocence of the brand identity, John suggested the idea of having one of the Kisses franticly ringing at the end of the commercial where the Kiss expresses great relief by wiping its brow with the plume when the song concluded.

 

The commercial  quickly became an iconic success.  It has aired each holiday season since 1989, “ringing” in the holiday season of good cheer.  It has become the longest running Hershey’s product commercial.