On the surface, the Hershey Company and Uber have very little in common. One company is a 122-year-old chocolate maker and the other is a rapidly growing ride-hailing app. However, like salt and caramel, the two disparate companies are reaping the benefits of a partnership that plays to the strengths of both businesses.
For example, a partnership between Uber and the Hershey Company in Mexico allowed both brands to meet their goals. The partnership began last year with a $5,000 pilot promotion for Mother’s Day. The promotion allowed first-time Uber customers in Guadalajara to have Uber drivers deliver small boxes of candy Kisses to loved ones in the city for free. In a single day, 100,000 people ordered Mother’s Day Hershey’s Kisses.
“The purpose of the campaign was to engage Millennials,” explains Elias Casteneda, a finance manager at the Hershey Company who proposed the partnership. “Uber isn’t as well-known in Mexico as it is in the U.S. and we also wanted to reach out to Millennial consumers so we both benefitted from the campaign.”
Encouraged by the pilot, the campaign was replicated in five cities across Mexico. And soon afterwards, the two companies developed a Valentine’s Day promotion for February 11 this year. For $250 MXN or about $15 USD at that time, first-time Uber customers could select a location on the Uber app from several participating cities in Mexico to have drivers deliver a box of “Uber Kisses” between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.
In eight hours the campaign sold the same number of candy Kisses as Walmart Mexico did during the same time frame. The hashtag #UberKisses became a top five trending topic in Mexico and reached 20 million Twitter users, or 40 percent of all Twitter users in Mexico, in eight hours. Additionally, the campaign garnered 45 million mentions in five days.
For Uber, the partnership helps it drive further brand recognition and awareness (the company did not share results from the campaigns). And for Hershey, the relationship helps the brand stay relevant with Millennial consumers, a market where Uber has a strong following.
Following the successful Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day promotions in Mexico, the Hershey Company and Uber have expanded the relationship to the United States with Kisses-sponsored promotions like Uber Remix (riders in participating cities like Denver, Nashville, and Seattle were picked up in unusual vehicles including a Lamborghini, Volkswagen bus, or motorcycle with a sidecar) and Uber Serenades (for a limited time customers could pay drivers to serenade loved ones and give them a box of Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe).
Casteneda declined to comment on future collaborations with Uber, but noted that Hershey continues to explore opportunities to combine its brand recognition with Uber’s customers. “We learned a lot from partnering with Uber, such as how to quickly get in contact with specific markets like Millennials and the importance of pursuing unconventional ideas,” Casteneda notes. “As a finance guy, working on a marketing and sales idea was challenging, but luckily I have a supportive boss and I learned if you push hard enough, you can make anything a reality.”