Hershey pulls ads with hugs and handshakes amid coronavirus concerns
Hershey Co. is putting coronavirus precautions into its commercials, pulling two spots focused on human interaction and replacing them with spots featuring only chocolate bars, text, and voiceover.
Hershey says it made the decision Friday to pull spots featuring Bob Williams and Diggy Moreland handing out Hershey bars to strangers, often with hugs and handshakes. Coronavirus can spread with person-to-person contact. The spread of the virus has already led some people to stop performing usual greetings such as handshakes and has led to the cancellation of numerous events.“Sadly, we have decided to temporarily replace two of our ads that feature human interaction, that include hugging and handshakes, due to the current sensitivities surrounding the COVID-19 virus,” Hershey Co. Chief Marketing Officer Jill Baskin said in a statement to Ad Age. “At this time, our ads have been replaced with product-centric spots.”
The ads that were pulled and the ones replacing them come from Mcgarrybowen, which works on the Hershey's chocolate brand.
The "heartwarming the world" spot that stars Williams shows him going around and giving out giant Hershey bars, something he has done for years.
The one focused on Moreland shows him interacting in real life rather than on social media, where he is a prolific poster.
Instead, Hershey is now featuring other ads without people. One spot is focused on its Cookies N Creme bar.
Another is focused on Milk Chocolate with Almonds.
Hershey has also made changes to the interactions among its staffers. It is “discouraging participation in large group meetings internally and externally until further notice,” a spokesman said Monday. Visitors to its facilities must have a business purpose and are being pre-screened for recent international travel locations before any in-person meeting is set up. Hershey is also encouraging virtual meetings to be used whenever possible. And all of Hershey’s corporate travel is being reviewed based on safety and business criticality.