Daily Insights

Hershey’s Digital Chocolate Bar

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | May 22, 2019

For the first time in over a century, Hershey’s is changing up its iconic chocolate bar. For a limited time, the classic bar will come with a social media-ready twist—emoji engraved into each square—and will hit stores this summer. It’s a simple shake-up, but it could lead to sweet success in the evolving consumer climate.

The smiley face, thumbs up, blowing a kiss, and yes, even the poop emoji are just four of the 25 signs that parents and kids selected as a part of Hershey’s research for its summer makeover. Typically imprinted with the Hershey’s logo, the classic style will still be found on the majority of bars while the redesigned ones will make up one out of every seven sold. Fittingly, the company is promoting the turned up treat on the core of social media itself—Instagram—starting with a peek at the sweet plus a short caption to inform its 201K followers of the “new Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Emoji Bar”.

Summer is an ideal time to test out new things (as some brands are already doing). Both travel and risk-taking tend to heat up during the season, especially for millennials. Additionally, Hershey’s chocolate bars are a classic go-to for s’mores, which are accepted by several brands including Oreo and Starbucks as the favorite flavor of summer. Finally, emoji are fast becoming the language of consumers, so etching in familiar and loved symbols onto a classic product that 87% of kids agree they would want to share with others is a quick and hopefully viral way to give the Hershey’s brand a modern update.

Hershey’s has had a smooth ride on social media in the past. For example, its savvy coordination of spend between Facebook and TV during the Olympics for the Hershey’s Gold campaign led to increased awareness online, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food. Its posts on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook including the word “new” in titles generated an average of 162, 123, and 72 percent more interactions, respectively, for the brand, making its latest caption all the more effective. Still, as tastebuds turn towards a healthier preference, Hershey’s will have to dodge an influx of new competitors playing the food field.

As new, healthy competitors continue to fill the food field, Hershey’s should continue to find ways to make its classic products appealing to the new consumer. For other brands that don’t want to dip their toes into the health trend just yet but want to remain relevant, emoji are a sweet and simple way to start.