Wednesday, December 05, 2007

DISGUSTED with Hershey's

A hat tip to Leslie for this one. I read it on her blog, and frankly, am horrified. (Wait, I live in Baltimore... I'm harrified, dammit.)
This is Hershey's "new candy" - PACS. Look like anything? Drugs, perhaps? Read this article from ABC News on law enforcement's feedback of the new product (and feel free to read my comment while you are at it).

Maybe I'm different from most folks in that I'm not overly concerned about a child confusing these mint candies for actual drugs. Could it happen? Absolutely. Should Hershey's be concerned. You betchya. But even so, that's not what pisses me off. My problem is that Hershey's is riding the cool train. Picture the product development team sitting around a conference room pondering what motivates Generations Y-ers or Z-ers (what are they called these days, anyway?) to buy. What makes them want to spend (or influence the spending of) money? Well not surprisingly, it's sex, drugs and [insert video games or Mad TV or any other substitute for rock 'n roll here]. Sure. That's why Guitar Revolution sells, right? Or One Tree Hill? Or The OC? Anyway... Hershey's isn't dumb. They have well-paid marketing execs who were looking for the next greatest thing. And trust me, if my company can afford focus groups... you better believe that Hershey's was well aware of both teen and adult reactions to the product well before they released it.

Maybe I'm overly sensitive because I love the art of good marketing (it's my living after all), but this is shameful. Not criminal, I know... but shameful. Have we seriously exhausted all of the clever ideas that are also socially responsible? Or are we too lazy to think creatively that we'll settle for the cheap ones?

Every parent, grandparent, or concerned citizen who agrees can complain to Hershey's HERE. I did. And it went something like this:

I have to say that these new "PACS" candies are atrocious. Yes... ATROCIOUS. I agree with the articles that this is "glorifying the drug trade." Sure, it's fabulous marketing to kids who are likely to be swayed by this, but I am shocked and horrified by your nerve. I think these should be pulled off the market, and your new product development folks should be ashamed. What a disgusting move for Hershey's.

Charissa Costa
Baltimore, MD

Oh, and want more bad reviews on this product? Take a look here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here (and from Gothamist, as well) and here and here and here and here.


Anonymous jill said...

I agree that it's sleazy. Do you remember my reaction when I first learned of Goody's from you? =P

December 06, 2007 10:00 AM  
Blogger Summer said...

I wrote to them. It's not like the cops don't have enough to worry about already... now they have "it's not drugs officer, it's candy..." SURE it is... I'm disgusted.

December 06, 2007 11:24 AM  
Blogger jwer said...

I like how their contact form is designed to discourage anyone from ever commenting for any reason; they need your address and phone number to care that you're complaining about their jackass marketing?

December 06, 2007 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the heads up: This was my comment:
As an adult with alot of children in my family, I see your new product "Ice Breakers PACS" as an unnecessary kind of candy. It promotes so much thought to the drug industry, possibly leading kids to play that they have "fake" drugs with them and that they are "cool like that".
As HERSHEY'S you should be smarter than that. Your company has always been in my home, providing goodness and happy faces. This is the one item that you have brought to the market that has made us adults frown upon your company. I believe that you are going down the wrong path. Don't be like the other company's that make fake cigars and cigarettes, stick to your wholesome goodness that adults know they can present to their children with the knowledge that they are not promoting any "bad" ideas.
Your marketing and idea team should be smarter than this.

Thanks again,

December 06, 2007 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

momey tops everything - you would think they would worry about their image, which is generations old... and that's what I told them.
What grandma would purchase anything from them after they went down that road .... and there are a lot of grandma's.

December 07, 2007 6:23 AM  
Blogger Carol Ott said...

That's absolutely disgusting on every level. I can't believe anyone would think that candy should be marketed in the same way drugs are sold. It's just one more thing that makes me think the world is going straight to hell. WTF were they thinking?????????

December 07, 2007 8:23 PM  

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