Hershey’s Nuggets Dilemma
Last fall, a few friends of mine and I went to my home-away-from-home in Conway NH. A small slice of heaven near the Saco River. After a long day of antiquing around town, ending with a Chinese dinner in a log cabin, we all went back to my place to hang around the campfire. The Red Sox playoffs were on and the night was crisp and cool. Perfect.
To top off a great day, a glass of wine and some chocolate was in order. My friend Jane, the sweet tooth of the bunch, grabbed her goodie bag (a giant cooler filled with snacks), and told us to take what we wanted. There was a wide assortment of treats. All kinds of chocolates, hard candies, licorice, hot balls, sugar-powder in a stick, jawbreakers, rolls of candy dots on paper and a lot of different candy bars; a virtual Willy Wonka factory in a box.
My friend Jennifer and I grabbed what we liked best out of the vast amount of choices and went to watch the ball game. Both my other friends Phyllis and Jane sat down at the kitchen table and opened a bag of Hershey’s Nuggets Assortment, their personal favorite out of the box. This is where the ensuing dilemma unfolded over the next hour or so about Hershey’s marketing flaw, and ultimately, their packaging mistake.
As the Red Sox labored through their playoff game, the intense conversation behind me at the kitchen table was becoming quite facinating and caught my attention, especially since the topic was about chocolate and marketing (two of my favorite things). What was interesting though, was both Jane and Phyllis did not realize that what they were saying had anything to do with marketing. In fact when I told them that their conversation was a direct look into consumer’s opinions, a marketer’s dream, they were surprised. In my mind, the two of them were a (albeit small) focus group for this particular Hershey’s product.
Set out on the table was the contents of the Hershey’s Nugget Assortment bag, with four little piles of nuggets clustered together. There are four different types of chocolate nuggets in this assortment bag: Milk Chocolate, Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Almonds, Milk Chocolate with Almonds, and Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds. For the most of the past hour I listened to them talk about the quality of the chocolate, their favorite flavors offered and what they would like to see in the assortment, as well as why Hershey’s decided to put such similar wrappers on the four different chocolates in an assortment bag. This is where my marketing ears perked up and I had to see for myself what they were talking about.
Upon closer inspection, they were right. The two girls separated the chocolates into piles because they could not discern between the flavors by simply looking at the wrapper. A marketing flaw was being exposed: the company did not do enough consumer research to know that the packaging was confusing and not well-liked, as least not by these two Hershey’s lovers. Jane said over and over that the chocolate is awesome, a great two-bite piece of joy, but finding her favorite flavor wasn’t easy when looking into the bag. Here’s a photo of the four different nuggets:
As you can see, three of the chocolates are in gold wrappers, with the Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Almonds and Milk Chocolate with Almonds almost indistinguishable from each other, unless you carefully inspect the tiny writing up close. Only the silver-wrapped Milk Chocolate is discernible from the rest.
Looking at both my friends sitting with their glasses at the edge of their noses, trying to read the wrapper to put the chocolates in the right pile…what a site! I thought to myself, this is a packaging mistake that came out of a marketing flaw. Even the colors associated with the chocolates on the exterior bag didn’t match the chocolate’s wrappers on the inside…see Red, Orange, Silver and White on the exterior of the bag:
Unless the consumer speaks up and lets the company know that they love the chocolates, but the wrappers need to distinguishable (without offending them), how can this mistake be changed? What a dilemma.
Hershey’s has some social media presence with a Facebook page with 6.2million likes and a Twitter handle @hersheys with over 9,600 followers (with zero tweets!). I could not find anything negative until I searched socialmention.com, and that was a very small percentage of 3%, and nothing to do with Nuggets nor with packaging.
I chose to do the proactive consumer route and write this to let Hershey’s know that their Hershey’s Nuggets Assortment chocolates are loved, but their packaging is not. And as a writer of the Wilder side of marketing, I suggest adding a bit of pizazz to the wrappers:
Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Almonds:
Milk Chocolate with Almonds:
Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds:
Once the color scheme (whether it is with these four metallic colors or four other easily identifiable colors), the color theme needs to be carried through onto the exterior packaging as an assortment bag or when sold separately so everything is cohesive. Confusion gone, consumer happy.
In the end, my two friends will not stop buying or enjoying Hershey’s Nuggets Assortment bags, but until the packaging is changed, consumer confusion will remain.