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Why Hershey exec sees Uber as selling channel of the future

The Hershey Company is reaping the benefits of a partnership with Uber that sold as many Kisses candy in Mexico over the course of eight hours as did Walmart Mexico during the same period. 

Following successful Mother?s Day and Valentine?s Day promotions with Uber in Mexico, The Hershey Company has expanded the relationship to the United States with Kisses-sponsored activations around Uber Remix and Uber Serenades. From there, The Hershey Company continues to explore how it can combine its brand recognition with Uber?s millennial following to build sales. 

?This was an unconventional partnership that played to each of our company?s strengths in the Mexico market ? Hershey?s name recognition and popular brands and Uber?s ?cool factor? with millennials,? said Elias Casteneda, finance manager at The Hershey Company. ?The team used a test and learn approach, and we learned a lot quickly.

?Internally, we were willing to take risks, the team that was intimately involved believed in the partnership and had a passion for winning,? he said. 

Making a match
The Hershey Company?s partnership with Uber started with a $5,000 test-and-learn promotion for Mother?s Day that saw Uber share Kisses candy with riders and give others the opportunity to send the product to loved ones through Uber for free. In a single day, 100,000 people ordered Mother?s Day Hershey?s Kisses. 

Following the initial test, the partnership with replicated in five cities across Mexico. 


Based on further success, the two companies developed a Valentine?s Day promotion that sold out Uber Kisses in eight hours. Additionally, the campaign reached 20 million Twitter users, or 40 percent of all Twitter users in Mexico, in eight hours. The hashtag #UberKisses became a top five trending topic in Mexico and reached Twitter users around the world, garnering 45 million mentions in five days. 

For Hershey?s, the program helped the brand stay relevant to the millennial consumer, a market where Uber is strong. 

For Uber, the partnership helped it increase brand recognition and awareness. 

Formula for success 
Per Mr. Casteneda, the partnership points to the importance of pursing new ideas, considering unexpected partnerships, taking a test-and-learn approach to innovation and building on success in a measured way. 

The Uber partnership is an example of how Hershey, which has a long history as a brand, continues to remain relevant in the mobile era. 


During the recent Summer Olympics games, Hershey?s doubled down on social media, bringing at-home viewers in on the action by partnering with athletes for separate social media pushes designed to fit the images of its flagship product and the Reese's brand (see story). 

In the spring, the company?s Ice Breakers gum brand leveraged Twitter?s First View, sponsored Instagram content and a dedicated Tumblr page and paired them with television spots to scale up the audience for a new brand push (see story). 

?Uber is a very quick moving business with a lot of potential, and we are still working on how we might want to move forward,? Mr. Casteneda said.