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Hershey Receives Grocery Manufacturers Association CPG Award for Innovative Product Launch Campaign

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), in conjunction with its Associate Member Council (AMC), today awarded The Hershey Company with its 2009 CPG Award for Innovation and Creativity for its public relations campaign in support of its Hershey’s Bliss chocolate launch. Now in its seventh year, the award is given to companies who have demonstrated uncommon creativity, innovation and have made a significant contribution to the industry knowledge base.

“One of the key roles that GMA performs on behalf of the industry is identifying and publicizing innovative new practices and this award supports that mission,” said GMA President and CEO Pamela G. Bailey. “The creative and resourceful thinking demonstrated by The Hershey Company is what allows our industry to grow, thrive and deliver the high quality products consumers want at an affordable price.”

Hershey’s synergistic public relations campaign to launch Hershey’s Bliss leveraged word-of-mouth marketing, social media and traditional media relations to generate consumer awareness, trial and sales of the new product. The focal point of the campaign was the hosting of 10,000 Hershey’s Bliss Chocolate Parties nationwide that offered the brand’s target audience the first opportunity to experience and share Hershey’s Bliss with friends and family. Party hosts were then transformed into brand evangelists online, where they were given tools such as e-coupons and a dedicated Web site where they could share party photos, stories and feedback about the new product. The in-home parties also enhanced the news value of the launch, helping to generate 143 million media impressions via major outlets such as “Good Morning America,” FOX Business and the Wall Street Journal.

“The Hershey’s Bliss campaign demonstrates that consumers can be a brand’s best marketers when given the freedom to experience a product in their own way, as the in-home parties did,” said Michele Buck, global chief marketing officer for Hershey. “This led to hosts and guests communicating the brand’s core messages through social media and word-of-mouth in a manner that was believable, authentic and relatable to other consumers. These third-party endorsements were truly invaluable.”

“It is a pleasure to honor The Hershey Company with this award that represents the best of the CPG industry,” noted Phil Friedman, vice president, consumer products, QAD Inc. and chairman of the CPG Award Selection Committee. “Hershey not only developed a quality product that filled an existing void in the company’s portfolio, but they showed great ingenuity in executing a launch that combined traditional tactics with an innovative consumer-to-consumer approach that allowed them to reach an additional 9 million consumers.”

The AMC presented Hershey with the award today at the GMA Executive Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado.