Mars Chocolate North America claims pushing year-round sharing occasions is key to getting US chocolate consumption on par with high levels observed in many Western European nations.
The company this week introduced its ‘Unwrapping Category Potential’ program designed to boost chocolate sales in US convenience stores.
Year-round sharing is the secret
In a video launching the campaign, Mars asked why US per capita chocolate consumption of chocolate ranked only 12th in the world, while other developed nations in Western Europe, such as Ireland, Switzerland and the UK enjoyed far higher levels.
“The answer is simple: Sharing. In all of those countries, guests at social occasions are more likely to bring chocolate - more than wine, more than beer.”
“In the US, chocolate is in only 10% of sharing occasions. Under indexing, other countries like the UK are at 46%.”
Mars will attempt to embed chocolate into more sharing occasions in America by creating and popularizing a full-year calendar of six chocolate sharing moments.
Beginning of the year
The firm will start. by focusing on Superbowl branding. It has secured exclusive rights to use the NFL Superbowl logo on chocolate products. The firm claimed that 35% of NFL fans are more likely to buy a product with the NFL logo on it.
Mars said that the Superbowl attracted 165 million viewers, the equivalent of 52 million households, with many Superbowl parties turning to dessert and coffee in the second half of the game. “That second half is a prize estimated at $260m,” said the firm.
Between March and April 2014, Mars will run a campaign called ‘Share your favorites with your favorites‘ that give consumers a chance to win two free singles - one to keep and one to share. The company will also introduce ‘bonus bags’ containing 10% more of selected products, designed to promote sharing.
From May 2014, Mars will turn its attention to soccer: the third most played team sport in the US. It has M&Ms shaped soccer balls, which it calls M-Balls, which encourages players to enter locations in store to interact with the brand on social media. It is timed to coincide with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
From June to July, Mars will turn to movie watching, which it called the most popular social sharing occasion.
“That sharing occasion is twice as likely to be fulfilled by salty big bag snacks than chocolate. To promote chocolate consumption during movie watching, Mars will give consumers the chance to win a free movie.”
The company has partnered its M&Ms brand with movie rental system Redbox for the campaign.
Latter half of the year
From August 2014, Mars said it will refocus efforts back to American football as the NFL regular season kicks-off. It claimed that 84% of NFL fans eat chocolate. It will launch team-branded bitesized Snickers under a text-to-win campaign called ‘Game Day Satisfaction’.
During the 2014 holiday period, the company will also run a get one and give one offer on certain singles displays such as Snickers, Twix and MilkyWay.
Mars recently launched a series of new items for 2014, which include bite-sized version of 3 Musketeers, MilkyWay and Twix.