Grass-roots: Teens target of latest Hershey push

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Hershey Foods turned to a grass-roots, integrated marketing push last fall to introduce its chewy Jolly Rancher candy to teens. 360 Youth, New York, the Generation Y-focused media and marketing arm of Alloy, developed a multi-tiered program to re-establish the candy as a hip brand for the demographic.

"[Hershey] wanted to put their product in the hands of teens and young adults, and in order to do that they wanted to go direct-to-consumer with alternative venues," such as sampling at schools and movie theaters, said Samantha Skey, VP-convergent marketing at 360 Youth. Branding via posters and electronic-media boards on campuses accompanied sampling efforts.

The marketing push also directed teens to an interactive Jolly Rancher microsite on . "You drive trial, then you drive purchase, then you drive loyalty," Ms. Skey said. The three-pronged strategy drove more than 50,000 teens to the Web site, and resulted in a 17% conversion rate to purchase for lapsed or non-users.

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