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A Reese’s Piece of the Pie: PB Meets PR

Published on November 22, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
by Lady Reynolds.

This Thanksgiving, America’s favorite candy brand debuted its popular peanut butter cup in a new form — measuring 9 inches in diameter and weighing 3.4 pounds. People went crazy for it.

The Reese’s Thanksgiving Pie was a new item sold by The Hershey Company to kick off the holiday season. After the company promoted the pie’s launch in an early November press release, people were eager to get their hands on one. Hershey saw an opportunity to use an earned media campaign to advance sales during its typical post-Halloween hiatus.

Photo by Jennie Clavel on Unsplash

After an official announcement on the brand’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, the large peanut butter cup sold out on Hershey’s website in nearly two hours. Since the company only made 3,000 pies just days before the holiday, people went to extensive lengths to grab one. Those who were able to buy one before the sellout purchased one pie for $44.99 plus tax. And today, they’re selling for over $500 on eBay.

Many people are asking, why not just buy a regular Reese’s cup?

The Reese’s Thanksgiving Pie campaign was extremely successful. The limited edition pie was far more desirable because it was the largest peanut butter cup yet. The pie is packaged in a square cardboard box with “Thankful yet? You can thank us later” written across it. It was marketed with pie-like features such as the ridged peanut butter cup edge and pictured with triangular pieces.

Visual by Reeses

In a PRWeek article, the senior associate brand manager at Reese’s, Bo Jones, stated, “We wanted to create a distinct proposition to feed into your cravings and the things you want at your Thanksgiving table.” Seventy-five of the 3,000 pies were sent to media outlets for earned coverage, which aided in the popular pie sellout. The No. 1 morning show, “Good Morning America,” promoted the pie in a segment the day of its release, and the hosts were just as excited to hold the 9-inch cup of peanut butter gold. Other mega-media outlets like CNN, Food & Wine and the New York Post also covered the super-sized pie.

Because the brand does not intend to sell more, Reese’s suggested other “Thanksgiving spread” inspiration to those who were not able to purchase a pie. The brand’s campaign will certainly be one to look forward to again thanks to its successful media efforts.

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