Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Co-Branding

Chocolate maker Hershey is looking for growth opportunities, and has considered launching a few new products it has developed and acquired. Hershey has traditionally used blanket family brand names such as Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar, or individual names such as Mr. Goodbar, their chocolate with peanuts bar.
Hershey has a new product that is almond and caramel-based, covered with chocolate. The California Almond Growers Association wants to create a tie-in with their products, by calling the new product the Hershey California Almond Express. This is an example of joint-venture co-branding.  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this co-branding?  How might each brand (Hershey and California Almonds) benefit from this relationship?    Chapter 10


Hershey is mass-market chocolate, but they have the advantage of being the most well known purveyors of chocolate in the country.  They have a town in Pennsylvania named after them, and an amusement park and factory tours just to celebrate the chocolate.  They are at the top of the heap[ when it comes to the their company, the “Hershey” name being an umbrella that the rest of their bars use.  As far as I know, there are few variations of the basic bar. I can think of almonds, and there was an experiment to add mint or to have a cookies and cream version of the standard bar. I don’t know if these have passed, but as someone who buys at least one candy bar a week from a drugstore display, there are only two versions of the Hershey Bar that I know.  So what Hershey has is a strong and undiluted brand when it comes to candy bars.  There is the original milk chocolate, and there is one with almonds.

Hear that?  It is “With” almonds.  The almonds are a secondary concern, an added benefit of the Hershey bar, something thrown in to mask the milk-chocolate monotony.  They don’t sell the almonds, they filler.  If I were going to look at  this new product, I would celebrate the Almonds. They aren’t second fiddle, they’re the basis of the whole thing.  The caramel is just a glue to hold the bar together and the chocolate is just a covering.  And what is an almond?  It’s not just a nut, but it is a power-packed protein missile, coming to stave off your hunger and to help you build muscle and get some of those healthy nut fats.  The Hershey’s California Almonds Express is no mere candy bar, not by any means.  This is a healthy alternative to regular snacking (which in itself is no problem when taken in moderation) but this is a new day in mid-day hunger relief!

There is a possibility that the public might not be receptive to this message, having seen too many junk foods being peddled to children and the body conscious only to find that they are full of sugar and carbs and all those things that make you fat.  But they aren’t believers, and won’t be until they get their mouths on a Hershey’s California Almond express.  The other possibility is that there may be some resistance to seeing an almond candy bar just a version of existing candy bars.  They’re wrong, this is a whole new market segment.