Chocolate war — Hershey’s Kisses’ marketing strategy

Today is the one of busiest days for chocolate stores. Not only did well-known chocolate brands throw tons of money on advertising their products, but also local chocolate stores joined the annual chocolate war by advertising through radio stations and uploading featured videos to YouTube. It’s a sweet war.

Observing commercials and videos during Valentine’s day, emotions, including love, attraction, romance, and happiness, are attached to all of them. Actually, not only during Valentine’s day, chocolate has been associated with love and romance since Hershey connect chocolate with Valentine’s day in 1907.

Above is the early years advertisement of Hershey’s Kisses. The post simply presented a couple sharing Kisses chocolate. They both were closing eyes and with genius smile on faces.  A loving message was perfectly delivered by the tag: “a kiss for you”, which meant a Kisses chocolate and a loving kiss at the same time. It was proved that emotional selling works well for chocolate industry. Love, attraction, and happiness are desired and needed emotion for everyone. Therefore, it is not surprise that most chocolate brands applied emotional branding to connect with their customers. For example, Godiva changed their website to pink color and highlight a heart-sharp gift box with candles (see below pictures).

Hershey is a chocolate company with over 100 years history. Facing strong competitors, such as Godiva and Dove, how could it win the chocolate war when chocolate industry share the same emotional brand theory?

In my opinion, personification is the top secret for Hershey Kisses’s success. Hershey started to use Kisses chocolates to represent the loving couple since 80s. Those small size sweets are no long chocolate on couple’s hands or in gift boxes. They are dance, singing, or skating together, with love and happiness, like real couples (see screenshots below). Unique chocolate images successful implanted positive emotion, such as romantic, to the brand. Also, Kisses’s commercials always associated with happy musics. The concrete sounds and movements transferred intangible emotions to something that audience can feel and remember. In addition, benefit from its unique small size package, sharing Kisses is more easier than other chocolate bar. As we all know, sharing is loving. I believe this concept also contribute to the success of Kisses.

Little sharing: Do you know Why Kisses called “Kisses”?

While it’s not known exactly how KISSES got their name, it is a popular theory that the candy was named for the sound or motion of the chocolate being deposited during the manufacturing process.” (Hershey Inc., 2010)

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6 Responses to Chocolate war — Hershey’s Kisses’ marketing strategy

  1. Jen Hau says:

    I feel like Godiva and Hershey’s chocolates are being marketed in really different ways because they are targeting different markets. While Hershey’s Kisses’ are available in most grocery stores, Godiva chocolates are being sold in carefully chosen locations. Godiva is being marketed as a luxury brand and is actively trying to associate its brand image with high fashion. Godiva try to associate itself with a more prestige image using various marketing methods including product placement in Gossip Girl.

  2. menewell says:

    Jen-Good point, the difference in Godiva’s marketing vs. Hershey’s is comparable to Dasani and Fiji water as we spoke about in class, with Fiji marketing itself as a more elite, classier brand of water. With Godiva and Fiji water marketing themselves as higher-end products, do you think the perception can sometimes be created that people can’t afford them, thereby limiting the potential share of the market they could have?

  3. Katie Chamberlain says:

    In response to Mattson’s question, I think that the way that Fiji and Godiva market themselves does in fact limit the potential share of the market but not because people perceive the goods as being unaffordable. We have to keep in mind that they are just water and chocolate and most anyone can afford them. They may be more expensive than competitors but they certainly will never be thought of as being unattainable due to high prices. No matter what price the companies sell these products at, it will only be a matter of a few dollars more, which I think people can handle.

    But, I do believe that by marketing themselves as higher-end goods they sort of brand their products as things that may not be for everyday use. They are associated with luxury and special occasions and will not find a market with people that are simply looking for practical prices that their competitors can offer.

  4. Xinyi says:

    From my point of view, this is an excellent example to differentiate target market with target audience. Although Godiva and Fiji water position themselves as a high-end,exclusive brands, it will have very little effect on their market share. Especially in the case of Godiva,the target market is probably the “end-users” who will eventually taste the delicious chocolate.However, it’s target audience are people who are willing to buy the products to pamper their beloved ones–the “end users” In this case,any ordinary day will be a special occasion to deserve a special treat. Therefore, it will not really reduce the market share. With the idea of “you are what you eat”, it will only make audience want more.

  5. Shelley says:

    To tell you the truth, almond kisses is my favorite chocolate (the one with golden color cover). And I do not like Godiva, although it very expensive . But I bought kisses is not like someone who want to “give a kiss”. I buy them for myself and for a lot of my friends when I go back to my hometown in the vacation. Because I think it is delicious, and it small, so I can share one bag with a lot of friends! I think their marketing stratege will not influence me, I am their loyal consumer.

  6. shutongz says:

    I went to Hershey Chocolate World Attraction during spring break. They did an amazing job. They provide a free tour ride to show the transformation from cocoa beans to chocolate. The way they did it is like “it’s a small world” ride in Disney. The ride will lead you to the shopping place and almost everyone will end up buying chocolate!