Hershey's Reese's brand is launching a summer promotion, "Reese's Loves you Back," which offers coupons for gas fill-ups and groceries. The on-pack instant-win sweepstakes dangles $2.5 million in cash prizes toward gasoline and groceries.
The coupons, inside specially marked wrappers of a variety of Reese's products, offer a chance to win $10, $25 and $100 increments up to $2.5 million. The promotion runs through the end of the year.
Although Reese's has not launched an ad campaign for dark chocolate Reese's cups yet, the prelaunch includes an online "challenge" for the most Reese's-friendly city, which happens to be either Chicago, St. Louis, Spokane, Wash., Norfolk, Va., or Boise, Idaho.
Last month, Reese's enthusiasts from those cities could cast a vote for their city by visiting www.reeses.com/lovesyouback for a chance to win a local gasoline and grocery giveaway. This week, Reese's will hold an event in the winning city, celebrating the launch of Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and the summer promotion by giving away up to $2.5 million in cash prizes.
Mintel, a Chicago-based market research firm, says dark chocolate has been seeing a spike -- driven in part by health reports touting it for improving blood flow, elasticity in blood vessels, lower blood pressure, better overall heart health, and the ability to decrease LDL ("bad") cholesterol.
Still, in a Mintel survey of 2,000 adults 18 and over in April last year on confection purchase habits, both milk and dark chocolate were chosen by more than half of respondents -- after ice cream/frozen yogurt and baked goods. Dark chocolate was selected by only 34% of respondents, versus 51% for milk chocolate.
But almost two-thirds of respondents who bought chocolate for themselves in the past year bought dark chocolate; half bought premium chocolate such as Godiva. Only 16% purchased sugar-free chocolate, and 13% bought organic chocolate.
Older respondents tended to prefer dark chocolate, while 18- to-34- year-olds were more likely than average to prefer premium chocolate. "This presents an interesting challenge for manufacturers because most premium chocolate is dark," noted the firm in its report. "Younger respondents who bought chocolate for themselves in the past year are more likely to have bought premium but not dark, while the situation is reversed for over-55s."
Among 1,568 adults 18 or over with Internet access who bought chocolate for themselves in 2007 and 2008, 63% bought dark chocolate. Seventy-four percent of those respondents over 65 bought dark chocolate, while 56% of 18- to-24-year-olds bought dark chocolate.