Hershey plans to increase global ad spend by a low double-digit percentage this year, partly to support new campaigns for Jolly Rancher and Rolo. Dollars should also back the new Hershey’s Simple Pleasures, which the company is launching in three flavors and says has 30% less fat than some milk chocolate products.
On an earnings call, the company touted its continued sponsorship of NCAA March Madness as helping in the first quarter. This summer, it has a Twizzlers promotion in conjunction with the new “Spider-Man” film on tap and a joint initiative between Reese’s and Coke.
CEO John P. Bilbrey said “we’re confident that our innovation, advertising and in-store execution will continue to drive top-line growth” for the remainder of the year.
In the first quarter, which included much of March Madness, ad spending was up 14% as net sales rose about 11% to $1.73 billion. Increased pricing was a factor. Easter also came earlier this year, which could have helped.
“Macroeconomic challenges still exist … (but) we feel good about the prospects as confectionary has proved to be resilient, given the impulse nature of the category and the continued investment in the category in the form of innovation and advertising,” Bilbrey said.