Hershey's Online Push for Reese's Gets Sweet Response

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An online branding campaign for Hershey's Reese's products via interactive games and sweepstakes has achieved a phenomenal response.

Begun in early June, the Uproar.com promotion invites the site's members -- 31 million registered users -- to play Reese's games and enter to win daily prizes and monthly sweepstakes.

More than 1 million people have visited the separate Uproar site for Reese's games and sweepstakes, while 1.3 million entered to win a trip to Hershey's factory and 2.7 million entered to win a year's supply of candy.

The Web site, http://sweepstakes.uproar.com, is printed on 200 million wrappers of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, ReeseSticks and Reese's Nutrageous candy bars, delivered to stores in late June and early July. The campaign runs through December.

In addition to sweepstakes for a Sony PlayStation, a trip to Hershey's factory in Hershey, PA, and a year's supply of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Uproar designed interactive Reese's-branded games. Reese's Table Tennis, Reese's Trivia and Reese's Treasure Hunt, in which users search for buried treasure on a map, offer daily prizes.

Uproar users who play the Reese's games win Uproar's fake currency, called iCoins. The currency can be used to enter Uproar's lotteries and sweepstakes or Reese's sweepstakes. The most popular prizes have been free Reese's candy, said Michael Streefland, director of marketing at Flipside, New York, which operates Uproar.com and other gaming sites.

Besides the candy bar wrappers, Uproar.com drove interest with several messages on its pages and its weekly e-mail newsletter, sent to 6 million members who opted in.

A Prize Post newsletter advertising a monthly prize -- a year's supply of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups -- generated a click-through rate of 17 percent, the newsletter's highest rate yet.

"That is really high for a newsletter," Streefland said. "Interest in a newsletter usually dies off after a while."

Streefland said the demographics of Uproar.com match Reese's target audience. "Reese's is very popular among women 18 to 34 years old. They find that's their core eater," he said. Unlike other gaming sites that boast a primarily male demographic, Uproar's membership is 80 percent female, skewed toward 18- to 35-year-olds.

Both Hershey and its promotional agency, MarketSource, Cranbury, NJ, wanted to expand Reese's marketing on the Internet and develop a promotion that was "entertaining and engaging," Streefland said. "When Reese's was looking for a partner, they were looking to identify candy with a fun, younger, female customer."

Streefland believes women are more interested in the type of games that Uproar features, some based on popular TV game shows, such as "To Tell the Truth," "Family Feud" and "Name That Tune."

Hershey is achieving the single goal of its campaign -- building brand -- while declining to collect e-mail addresses or send traffic to its site. "They didn't want to build a database," Streefland said. "They're much more interested in people having a good time, not being asked for their name and telephone number."

Even though traffic has continued to increase as candy bars have been delivered to more stores, Hershey and Uproar will continue to update the site to keep visitors interested. Hershey executives are still deciding on the content of a game that will be added in about a month using Shockwave technology, Streefland said.

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