Reese’s brand launch in Germany: Three lessons learned from the market launch via social media

Introducing a new snack brand to the market was always going to be a challenge but this was further heightened in Germany given the amount of competition; every second German buys the product they already know and frequently purchase. In this landscape, we look back at how Hershey’s successfully entered the market and the partnership between Hershey and Havas Media which fueled a best-in-class social approach.

Frankfurt, March 11th, 2022

Half of Germans choose chocolate brands they have always bought so how do you convince shoppers of a new snack brand in a highly competitive market? Originating in the USA, manufactured by Hershey’s, Reese’s brand was only available in US specialty supermarkets until the 2021 launch. As distribution grew and marketing spend increased in line with this, the goal was to establish the previous niche brand Reese’s as a chocolate lifestyle brand in Germany. In a cluttered environment with brands such as Mondelez, Lindt, Storck & Co. dominating the market, coupled with relatively small budget – it was not an easy task.

Hershey and Havas Media developed a social concept to increase brand awareness with the key target audience; young urban Gen Zs; working closely with Meta, Havas Creative and Field Day. Over a period of nine months, lifestyle-savvy 18–24-year-olds were served mobile-first videos across socials, taking an always-on approach on Facebook and Instagram, supplemented by seasonal peaks and upweights via a two-month TikTok campaign. The creative messaging was centered around the uniqueness of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup under the tagline „Anything but Ordinary“.

For Hershey, the priority was measuring and optimize the advertising effect against the target audience – both across the short term (to analyze the success of the advertising investments of individual campaign flights) and across the long term, to gain insights from an always-on plan. The question we needed to investigate was whether incremental advertising effects in branding also be built up, measured, and optimized over longer periods of time. There is still limited research in the market on long-term, cross-campaign effectiveness Hershey, Havas and Meta leveraged the new measurement approach at launch to address this topic and learn together.

Havas, in partnership with Meta, set up a campaign that spanned 9 months to assess the advertising impact generated by Instagram and Facebook. Key performance indicators for Hershey’s were lifts in “advertising recall”, “brand awareness” and “message association”. The methodology involved a test and control group to understand the uplift between these two groups across each month.

The results & overarching findings

From the outset, despite “Reese’s” never advertising in Germany, there was already high brand awareness in the target group: 54% of the people in the control group surveyed knew the Reese’s brand, without any advertising. The advantage of working with Meta was that, with limited budget, we could reach our audience in a highly targeted manner, constantly building reach and scaling our advertising which had a positive effect on brand awareness. On average, across the 9-month testing period, Hershey achieved an incremental advertising impact of 9.3% lift in ad recall, as well as additional continuous gains in brand awareness.

Three key takeaways for advertisers launching in a new market in the social space:

  1. Brand awareness is built over time by maximizing reach

    The cumulative Brand Lift results over 9 months show that a reach strategy can lead to a continuous increase in brand metrics. Use the advantages of machine learning for optimized advertising control!

  2. Do not neglect contact frequency

    With limited budgets, a campaign designed for high reach can deprioritize frequency. This will have an impact on the advertising effect. After the successful launch and range expansion, the recommendation to Hershey was to change the optimization goal – from „reach“ to „optimization of brand awareness“. These increased effects correlated with a higher contact frequency and enabled additional positive effects to be achieved, particularly in the “message association” metric (“peanut butter in a cup”).

  3. Optimize your creatives for the specific channel

    Hershey and Havas Creative produced creatives that were bespoke and native to the Facebook and Instagram platforms which meant the algorithm prioritized these assets. The best results are achieved when media and creative work hand in hand and consumers feel a native experience when viewing an advertisement.

“The launch of Reese’s in Germany has been a key learning for The Hershey Company. The insights will help us in working closer with the right partners to achieve higher brand awareness scores in 2022. Increased reach is key for our growth across Europe, where utilizing these best practices from Meta in other markets will help establish Reese’s and it’s ‘Anything But Ordinary’ brand message everywhere!“ comments Christopher Campbell, Brand Manager – Europe, at The Hershey Company on the cooperation with the Frankfurt agency, „With the „Social Media First“ approach by Havas Media, we have found a smart way to convince the young Reese’s target group in the extremely heavily advertised German snack market of our peanut butter cups with a comparatively small budget.“

Alexandra Streufert, Agency Partner at Meta adds: “Havas and Hershey deliberately opted for a social-only strategy for their market entry in Germany, while at the same time breaking new ground in advertising impact and success measurement – „Anything but Ordinary“ indeed. This courage, clearly agreed goals and a cooperative partnership between all those involved have led to success. Building on a very high level of awareness right from the start, the campaigns reached the relevant target group with the relevant messages – and successfully positioned the Reese’s brand. We look forward to more strategic and innovative projects with Havas Media and Creative.”

Sebastian Schöppner, Director Paid Social at Havas Media adds: „With strong team collaboration between Hershey and Meta, we’re happy to report strong performance of the always-on strategy. Even with a comparatively low budget, we had very significant uplift regarding ad recall lift throughout the campaign runtime.“