From #Cupfusion to #Cupspiracy – Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cups Launch


Ryan Riess
Sr. Manager, Reese's Brand

In 2016, Reese’s brand took the unexpected and turned it a prized growth driver with #Cupfusion and the unconventional launch of Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cup. From its invention on a train ride home to an agile, real-time, in-the-moment launch, we re-wrote the playbook on innovation possibilities. The Reese’s brand learned that when tapping the creative potential of teams and eschewing the traditional boundaries, amazing things can happen, like #Cupfusion - which led to quadrupling sales expectations in the first year. But the question is, “Can it happen again?”

Fast-forward to 2017, the brand’s learnings from the non-traditional, unconventional approach of Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cup helped us to re-write our go-to-market approach for an upcoming innovation. We saw first-hand how proactive PR could positively impact sell-in and drive demand for product well before it was available to consumers. This brings us to the story of #Cupspiracy and the launch of Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cup.

We wanted to take a page from our learnings with the Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cup launch. We knew that:

  1. Our fans have unbridled enthusiasm, passion and love for the Reese’s brand. They. Love. Anything. Reese’s.
  2. The media and influencers love a story about an iconic brand and love a story that has a bit of mystery even more.
  3. The buzz and storytelling the brand drives can lead to increased excitement (and sales) from our retailers.
  4. And lastly, you should trust your gut!

Unlike 2016, when we had an authentic product leak to fuel speculation, we needed to create our campaign from ground up. We needed to tap the creativity and agility of our collective teams to drive excitement, interest and buzz about our latest innovation.

Reese’s is the No.1 brand in the category and, as part of our approach to launch Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cup, we wanted to spark a conversation and allow our fans to help us shape the creative direction and timing of this launch. Remember, our consumers “own” our brand. Our job as members of the brand team is to manage the brand and provide the absolute best experience for our fans.

#Cupspiracy began at the end of February with a series of subtle posts hinting that something new was coming from the Reese’s brand. We needed to strike a balance between subtlety and directness. Too subtle and fans missed our hints;  too direct and we’d lose the sense of intrigue.

After a few iterations and carefully reading through our fans comments, our team landed on the #Cupspiracy board. Similar to those you may see in popular detective movies, this board was a treasure map to unveil the #Cupspiracy. The board was updated in real time as consumers took their shot at solving our mystery. The board was an instant catalyst for conversation, which we fueled through best-in-class community management.


By March 9, with just six short posts in total - the #Cupspiracy was over. After mysteriously sending some vague samples to producers days before, we unveiled Reese’s latest edition on The TODAY Show. Within minutes consumers were clamoring to taste our latest edition – the Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cup.

We Crushed It … again.

Overnight,  we had another Reese’s sensation, with nearly 250 media outlets reporting on the innovation,  garnering nearly 600M media impressions and calls coming in from retailers nationwide.  Delish reported on our new item, and we really couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Take a look.

From #Cupfusion to #Cupspiracy, we, again, took convention and flipped it on its head.  We proved that smart risk taking, agile social listening and knowing your consumer can and will deliver results.

Friday, May 5 – Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cup officially hits store shelves.  The #Cupspiracy has officially ended … until next time.

Head over to the Reese’s Facebook page to see how the entire story unfolded. Better yet – head out to store shelves to find our latest innovation: Reese’s Crunchy Cookie Cup.