January 13, 2011: Hershey's is not an official marketing partner of the NFL. In the candy category, rival Mars has official NFL exclusivity, including activation with such brands as M&Ms, Twix and Milky Way.
So as the NFL playoffs and the drive to Super Bowl XLV heat up, Hershey's has taken a different, yet economically linked, strategy to activate with pro football. Hershey’s Chocolate has signed a marketing deal with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has enlisted Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time leading rusher, to act as spokesperson.
Hershey's promotion is the second national activation with the Pro Football Hall of Fame this season. Phillips-Van Heusen along with JC Penney are currently running the second Fan's Choice campaign, directing consumers and football fans to vote for their unofficial choices for the Class of 2011.
Anchoring the partnership is the Hershey’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Sweepstakes, offering consumers the opportunity to visit the site in Canton, Ohio, alongside Smith,who was inducted into the Hall last year. Now through Feb. 28, a multi-media campaign with Smith directs consumers to a dedicated Web site. There, visitors can enter the sweepstakes, which is dangling a top prize of a trip for four to the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Weekend, Aug. 5-8, and to spend time with Smith. In addition, the winner will also have their likeness on display in the form of a chocolate bust.
Hershey's also is awarding 20 Hall of Fame 2010 induction ceremony footballs autographed by Smith and 100 Pro Football Hall of Fame $100 gift cards. (Full details here.)
In a spot playing at the Web site, Smith relates, "My name is Emmitt Smith. I was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Now you can join me. Enter right now for a chance to win a trip to the next Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend, where I'll be your host."
“Hershey’s is excited to partner with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith to bring added excitement to the playoff season,” Anna Lingeris, spokeswoman for The Hershey Co., said in a statement. “Not only are Hershey’s Miniatures Chocolates a great game day snack, but the brand is also taking fans’ love of football to the next level with the chance to see themselves next to their favorite Hall of Famers, but in chocolate.”
"Hershey’s is excited to partner with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Emmitt Smith to bring added excitement to the playoff season."
The alliances with Hershey's and Phillips-Van Heusen are part of a dedicated effort by the Pro Football Hall of Fame to broaden its efforts to reach not only dedicated and casual football fans, but more marketing partners.
"The public may have heard about the Hall of Fame in August during induction ceremonies and the Hall of Fame game, which opens the NFL pre-season, and then again perhaps during Super Bowl week when the official inductee class for that year is announced," Mike Kelly, evp-marketing for Phillips-Van Heusen, said during an interview with NYSportsJournalism during the Fan's Choice Class of 2011 launch event this past September." But [Hall of Fame executives] saw opportunities for more. [They saw] a tremendous opportunity to bring the Hall of Fame to the public year round."