A Sweet Partnership

Hershey & Team USA


David Palmer
> LinkedIn
Director, Partnership Marketing & Planning, The Hershey Company

At Hershey, we have a rich history of ‘big league’ partnerships. Currently we serve as the official confectionery partner of the NCAA, highlighted by our Reese’s brand’s March Madness activation. We’re also active in the entertainment world: this summer, our Twizzlers brand is partnering with the summer blockbuster movie Independence Day: Resurgence.

Throughout the years, we have had various other partnerships and promotions to drive our brands in-store; however, 2016 marks a first for The Hershey Company. This year, Hershey signed on to become an official partner of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), beginning with the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer, with continued support for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and the Toyko 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

But why this partnership? All things considered, this union is a natural fit for both Hershey and the United States Olympic Committee. Both Team USA and Hershey are iconic representations of America. They are two well-known American brands that have established meaningful emotional connections in the hearts of Americans.

These two organizations have kindred values and beliefs; they celebrate the special moments, they provide engaging experiences, and they both have an authentic history full of American pride. 

This summer, during the Olympic and Paralympic Games no matter the sport or what background, everyone, athletes and Americans alike, come together to champion Team USA. Similarly, at Hershey, all brands are coming together under one unifying theme to support Team USA and rally Americans, continuing our long, trusted legacy. This summer will truly be One Sweet Celebration.

The magnitude and scale of this project across both corporate and our suite of brands is unprecedented. The opportunity to leverage all of our company’s brands allows us to explore unique and engaging platforms that were previously uncharted territory. This partnership with the USOC is unlike other partnerships that Hershey has been a part of, and that is what energizes us the most.

This year, in the spirit of both newness and tradition, we have completely redesigned the packaging of our iconic products for Team USA. We changed the Hershey’s iconic wrapper for the first time in its 122 year history, and the response has been phenomenal from both customers and consumers.  Along with the classic Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar, we’ve also rolled out an entire suite of patriotic products showing how important this partnership is to us. But new packaging just one part of this summer-long celebration. The partnership with the USOC brings Hershey a new opportunity to drive brand and company relevance and engagement on the world’s biggest stage this summer, in multiple ways: athlete sponsorship, employee engagement, integrated brand campaigns, in-store displays and so much more.

Why Partnerships?

There are two main reasons why we create partnerships with organizations such as the USOC. First off, these partnerships are a relevant way to connect with our consumers. Secondly, they bring meaningful connections to retailers by providing unique, timely, and shopper-driven in-store campaigns.

Our brands and company have been building emotional connections with consumers for over a hundred years. That’s why we strategically seek our partners that do the same. Everyone has a story, a memory, and an experience with Hershey. Our “One Sweet Celebration” theme has provided Hershey not only with a unique set of assets to activate in-store; it reminds us that Hershey is inviting the entire nation to share joy and engage in their own celebrations this summer. It’s important to celebrate the journey and the accomplishments along the way, and then sharing those celebrations with others. It doesn’t matter if you’re a U.S. Olympian or Paralympian celebrating your journey to Rio, or you’re just celebrating your journey to the end of a Monday; everyone has something to celebrate. Hershey will be bringing this spirit to customers and consumers throughout the summer as part of our partnership with Team USA

One last thing that makes this Team USA sponsorship unique. In the end it’s not just the products or the campaigns, the greatest part of this partnership is seeing our country’s athletes dreams come to life right in front of us.  Our company, our brands and our teams will get to see someone who has dedicated their entire life to compete on the world’s biggest stage and accomplish their goals and dreams.  Moreover, our partnership played a role in helping them get there. And that’s definitely something to celebrate.

For more information about The Hershey Company’s partnership with the United States Olympic Committee, visit TeamUSA.org