Welcoming over 4 million guests per year, Hershey’s Chocolate World is the physical representation for some of the world’s best-loved confectionery brands. And that comes with incredible expectations. So when The Hershey’s Kitchens team wanted to bring their brand to life through an experiential event at Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pa., my team was ecstatic – but knew we had to deliver.
The ask was simple: develop an event to bring Hershey’s Kitchens to life through menu creation and live hands-on consumer decorating demonstrations. The end results should amplify the Hershey’s Kitchens brand, engage Hershey’s Chocolate World guests, and drive attendance to Hershey’s Chocolate World. In addition, the event should be easily broadcasted through social media to generate engagements through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter. Together with Hershey marketing agency partner PriceWeber, the concept of “Hershey’s Kitchens LIVE” was born.
Here’s how it worked: on November 12 & 13, Hershey’s Chocolate World’s Chocolate Tasting Experience room transformed into the set of Hershey’s Kitchens LIVE where two visiting families collaborated on stage with Hershey experts to decorate desserts with Hershey products (including Kit Kat Turkey Cupcakes and Hershey’s Perfect Cookie Sandwiches). Oh, and celebrity host Kerri Pomarolli led the event in front of a live audience of 60 people per show where they had an opportunity to answer Hershey trivia and participate in family fun games on stage. Whether guests participated live on stage decorating desserts under the lights in front of the camera crew or by stacking Kit Kat Bars on their forehead, everyone who attended left with an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind experience (and, of course free Hershey’s candy).
After hosting a total of 14 shows over the weekend, welcoming over 900 guests as audience members and participants, handing out 28 five pound Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars and unwrapping 100 Kisses Milk Chocolates using oven mittens (it’s much harder than it sounds), we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results of the event. Guests were beaming from ear to ear with smiles as they left, and audience members were eager to recommend Hershey’s Kitchens LIVE to a friend. Both attendance and sales were up for Hershey’s Chocolate World over the weekend, and social media was buzzing about the event. And, we drove home the brand’s key message: Hershey’s Kitchens LIVE is all about letting your creativity flow, inspiring moments of happiness within the kitchen, and encouraging bakers to share homemade desserts with family and friends.
Will we see a return of Hershey’s Kitchens LIVE in the future? Well, that’s still a secret that only the Hershey, Kiss and Reese's product characters know (and our marketing team). More importantly, we successfully reinforced that Hershey’s Chocolate World is the ultimate brand activation platform to engage consumers in unique, memorable, and experiential ways by leveraging the world-class brands of The Hershey Company. Whether the next activation is Hershey’s Kitchens LIVE or an entirely new and innovative concept, Hershey’s Chocolate World will continue to prove why it’s the No. 1 visited branded experience in the world.