When it comes to candy, Mondelez International and Hershey Co. are fierce competitors. But the two marketers have united, along with Kraft Heinz. Co., for a new campaign that seeks to generate a bigger sales bang from s'mores season.
A video launching today on social media promotes Hershey's chocolate, Kraft Heinz's Jet-Puffed marshmallows and Mondelez's Honey Maid graham crackers as ingredients for the timeless campfire treat.
But the stars of the spot are a bunch of cute kids who go camping for the first time -- in Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park of all places. The kids have also never had s'mores. So the video shows them frolicking in the park and ending their adventure with the gooey treats. Instead of a campfire, the kids use a grill.
The goal is to extend the summer s'mores season, which tends to taper off as summer begins fading to fall and thoughts turn to heading back to school, said Stacie Stauffer, a senior brand manager at Hershey. Although the kids are first-time s'mores eaters, the strategy is to drive repeat consumption by all s'mores fans. Or as Ms. Stauffer said, "How do we get those people who make that first set of s'mores to make that second set of s'mores?"
The three companies have been working together to push s'mores at retail since 2007, but this is the first time they have extended the campaign beyond stores. The agency is Droga5, which is Honey Maid's regular agency. The brands will send s'mores kits to 100 people selected at random who share the video on social media and tag it with "#ShareSmore" and "#PickMe." Fans are also asked to share their first s'mores experience.
While Hershey and Mondelez compete in other categories, that dynamic "never really comes up for us," Ms. Stauffer said. "It really goes back to the consumer opportunity," she added, noting that the three companies share costs equally on the program.
S'mores history dates back to at least 1927 when the recipe for the treat was published in a Girl Scout handbook. These days, some 2.3 million s'mores are consumed each summer in the U.S., according to Hershey. Ms. Stauffer said s'mores are a "major, major growth driver" for Hershey. On an average summer day, an estimated 110,000 pounds of Hershey's chocolate is used for s'mores, according to the brand.
S'mores seem to be gaining in popularity elsewhere, including at restaurants and grocery stores as the treat is popping up in a variety of forms. For instance, Starbucks sells a "toasted s'mores tart," and Mondelez's Oreo brand recently came out with a s'mores variety.
But Ms. Stauffer said she is not worried about the new competition.
S'mores is all about "the roasting of the marshmallow, how you put it together, the stories, the laughs, the dripping of the marshmallow and chocolate," she said. "And that's nothing that the flavor-oriented items or a packaged snack can really deliver against."