Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel are being introduced Monday as the “Ultimate Team” for Reese’s. Hershey Co., which makes Reese’s, is ready to tap into enthusiasm for the games, which were postponed from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The rescheduled 2020 Summer Games are now slated to begin July 23.
Hershey has been a Team USA sponsor since 2015 and, like other marketers, had expected to launch an Olympics-themed campaign last year. Such plans were paused as the pandemic led to the postponement of the Games. For brands like Hershey that serve as Team USA sponsors, the opportunity to tie into the excitement around the event is one that is often planned years in advance. Worldwide Olympic partners include brands such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Toyota and Visa.
This year, brands must decide how much to emphasize the international sporting event as it is set to go on under new protocols. For one, Japan is hosting the games without overseas spectators. So marketers that in the past have had sponsored areas at the Olympics won't be able to do the same level of hospitality marketing.
“As America’s number one chocolate brand, we couldn’t settle for anything other than the best and that’s exactly why we’ve partnered with these legendary U.S. Olympians: Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel,” Margo McIlvaine, brand manager, Reese’s, said in a statement. “These three know exactly what it takes to be the ultimate, and we welcome them to the Ultimate Team Reese’s.”
Phelps, with 23 Olympic gold medals, is the first athlete featured in the campaign and is the sole one in the commercial. He’ll be joined by two hopefuls for this year’s Games in Ledecky, who has won five Olympic gold medals to date; and Dressel, who has won two Olympic gold medals to date.
Rather than focusing on the athletes, though, Reese’s is centering its campaign more on its products. The spot starring Phelps promotes Reese’s Ultimate Peanut Butter cups, a limited-time version without chocolate. These cups were announced in March and are hitting stores this month. They are being promoted alongside Reese’s Peanut Butter Lovers Cups, which have more peanut butter than standard Reese’s cups but still contain some chocolate and were first sold in 2019.