Winning Gold: Helping Busy Mom’s Build a Low-Cost Easter Basket at Dollar General


Chris Gaughan
Sr. Manager Shopper Engagement Dollar, The Hershey Company

It was surreal standing on stage with my teammates accepting a Gold Shopper Marketing Effie Award in the Single Retailer Program category for our 2016 Easter “Build A Better Basket at Dollar General” campaign. Our hard work and collaboration with Dollar General had paid off, and we were thrilled. 

The Effie Awards celebrate the best use of shopper insights to inform effective integrated campaigns. These campaigns are designed to engage the shopper and guide her purchase process. In the case of our winning program, the core shopper was a budget conscious female with a family. The shopper is always at the heart of what we do; it was key insights from our shopper insights and customer sales team that shaped the design of this program. 

With Easter 2017 just around the corner, the award could not have been more timely.

First, a bit of background: The shopping landscape for Easter 2016 was much different than 2017. With 19 fewer days between Valentine’s Day and Easter Sunday last year, Hershey and Dollar General wanted to develop a program to help busy and financially stretched Moms with a way to plan her family’s Easter celebration on a budget. To do this, we concentrated on the one thing we knew would not be affected by the shorter Easter season – the Easter basket.  

How we did it: 

  • We put the financially stretched Mom (our shopper) at the heart of our planning efforts – with our deep knowledge and insights about what’s most important to her
  • We partnered with Dollar General to develop a winning program

We knew our shoppers would be looking online for Easter inspiration. So, we created an online interactive basket-building experience that gave her the opportunity to find Easter solutions she could afford on any budget. 

The interactive basket builder took a total Easter category approach because that's the way Mom shops. It included Hershey Easter brands, competitor products and Easter-related general merchandise like Easter grass and plastic eggs. Once the shopper ‘built’ her basket online, she was able to print the list making it a useful planning tool to manage her budget. But that wasn’t all. We also provided a sweet offer, $1 off select Easter items with the purchase of $5 of Hershey products.

The shopper is always at the heart of what we do; it was key insights from our shopper insights and customer sales team that shaped the design of this program.

To drive awareness about the program, we focused on Facebook, Twitter and the Dollar General customers’ favorite online sites.  Shoppers could also find information on how to ‘Build a Better Basket’ through in-store signage that highlighted savings and reinforced building a basket. 

The results were EGGS-cellent! We increased sales at Dollar General and elevated digital engagement. Our click-through rates more than doubled from the previous year. Viewers spent nearly six minutes interacting with the brand page.

This year, the team is excited to celebrate the Effie Award and continue partnering with our retailers to the benefit of shoppers everywhere.