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Russell Stover Reinvents Itself With First Campaign In Two Decades

October 10, 2019 Carolyn Harding

Russell Stover is launching into the digital marketing space with “Make Happy,” its first national brand campaign in 20 years. Introducing an original theme song, revamped packaging and a catchy commercial, the famous chocolatier is improving its outdated image and singing its way into the hearts (and wallets) of consumers — just in time for the holidays.

Russell Stover Balances Innovation With Tradition

Russell Stover’s “Make Happy” campaign will debut across TV and social channels with the goal of reinforcing that the brand’s chocolates are the ideal gift for seasonal and everyday occasions.

The main element of the “Make Happy” initiative introduces a national broadcast advertisement titled “Hugs,” which includes a 30-second spot highlighting moments when people give and receive hugs to the tune of the "I Wanna Make You Happy," an original song written specifically for the Russell Stover campaign.

“Russell Stover is proud to carry on the tradition of crafting chocolates to create simple moments of joy that make life sweeter in today’s world,” said Mark Riegel, Vice President of Marketing for Russell Stover. “With this new creative campaign and our partnership with the very talented singer and songwriter Victory Boyd, we are excited to elevate our brand’s cultural relevance and continue to promote ‘Make Happy’ moments while spreading the joy of gifting.”

As an 86-year-old heritage brand, Russell Stover will inevitably encounter the challenge of creating relevancy while staying true to the brand’s original messaging and core purpose. The Russell Stover team acknowledges the famous chocolatier is a household name, but is still striving toward the goal of refreshing the brand for today’s consumer base.

Russell Stover Taps Into Consumer Insights For “Make Happy” Campaign

In an interesting twist, Russell Stover turned to consumers to collaborate on the design of its new and improved image. Conversations began early last year between what the brand calls “Russell Stover Enthusiasts” and “Joyful Gifters” — a group of thoughtful, trusted consumers who have demonstrated generous gestures toward others. It was those same consumer insights that led the Russell Stover to simplify its flavor assortment to offer more of what buyers really want. Feedback from the collaboration also played a key role in the brand’s modernized packaging, designed to attract new consumers while keeping enough traditional elements to honor the brand’s legacy.

Russell Stover Sees Its Future In Younger Consumers

The recent brand improvements from Russell Stover represent a new direction for the iconic brand and are working toward a larger effort of attracting a new generation of chocolate lovers. The “Make Happy” music partnership taps into a recent trend many brands have embraced this year in an effort to capture the attention of younger audiences. Most recently, famous toy maker LEGO debuted its first global brand campaign in 30 years, featuring an original theme song from Mark Ronson.

One thing is certain: people love chocolate. So much so that milk chocolate sales are expected to grow 6.2% globally by 2026, increasing the chocolate industry's value to $95 billion, according to National Confectioners Association. Currently, chocolate makes up 60% of all candy sales in the U.S. confectionary industry, totaling roughly $21 billion annually. For brands like Russell Stover, the time for innovation and an updated digital marketing strategy is now.

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About the Author

Carolyn Harding

Carolyn Harding is an Associate Manager of Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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