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MDLZ - Mondelez International Inc News Story

$61.14 0.4  0.7%

Last Trade - 05/05/21

Consumer Defensives
Large Cap
Market Cap £61.77bn
Enterprise Value £74.42bn
Revenue £19.50bn
Position in Universe 145th / 6849

Chocolate-makers burnish social-media data to get a hop on Easter sales

Thu 1st April, 2021 11:00am
By Siddharth Cavale and Silke Koltrowitz
    April 1 (Reuters) - Major chocolate makers, including
Hershey  HSY.N  and Mondelez  MDLZ.O , say they've turned to
social media platforms like Pinterest  PINS.N  to look for clues
on which products might sell best during the pandemic U.S.
Easter season.
    About a month before Easter, people posted images of
do-it-yourself Easter cookie kits and Easter baskets on
Pinterest, according to Hershey Co's research. The
Pennsylvania-based chocolate company found that searches for
those products on Pinterest increased in early March, with
search volumes for related hashtags increasing more than 1,000%
    Based on the trend, Hershey moved quickly to add recipes
incorporating Hershey Cadbury crème eggs and Hershey chocolate
syrup to the company’s own "Easter" and "Cakes and Cupcakes"
boards on Pinterest. 
    “We are looking at different social sites like Pinterest and
we leverage those insights with retailers. ... It definitely is
more than usual (this year),” Philip Stanley, Hershey's chief
sales officer, said in a recent telephone interview. 
    Shoppers plan to spend an average of $179.70 this Easter,
the highest figure on record, according to a March 2021 survey
of 8,111 respondents conducted by consumer research firm Prosper
Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation, the
U.S. retail trade association.  
    The COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for retailers and
food companies to predict where and how people will shop. More
than two-thirds of Americans will celebrate this weekend's
Easter holiday and spend a collective $21.6 billion, the
federation added, with 13% of respondents saying they will shop
in a store. This compares with 9% of respondents saying the same
in a pre-pandemic survey last year.   
    "Consumer behavior change was so rapid during COVID, our
normal cycle of understanding our annual rituals with our
products and consumer insights was not the same," Hershey
spokeswoman Allison Kleinfelter said by phone. 
    Pinterest operates like an online mood board, where users
pin images they like to several different interest-specific
boards on their page. These images can then be shared and pinned
between users, creating what Pinterest Inc calls "a catalogue of
    "Because Pinterest is grounded in the future, it gets an
earlier indication of where consumers are headed and can help
brands better predict what's to come for their category,"
Sibylle Tretera, head of creative strategy for Europe, Middle
East and Africa at Pinterest, wrote in a December blog post.  
    Jonathan Halvorson, global vice president of consumer
experience at Mondelez International Inc, said by phone that the
Chicago-based company had tripled its marketing budget on
Pinterest over the last two years, without giving a specific
number. Halvorson said the platform "had made the biggest
progression on insights" on which it could act upon, including
for Easter. 
    To be sure, the maker of Oreo cookies still spends the
majority of its social media marketing budget on Alphabet Inc's
Google  GOOGL.O  and Facebook  FB.O , but nevertheless has
increased its brand campaigns on Pinterest.  
    Cadbury's UK unit was among the first brands to use
Pinterest's Trend Badges feature when it launched in 2020 -
which gave advertisers the exclusive opportunity to spotlight
their own products based on trending search terms. 
    "We’re able to get insight into things like when during the
day – morning, evening, meal time, etc. – consumers are
searching for snacks, what kind, and where they're looking to
buy them," said Halvorson of social media sites, including
    Even as far back as mid-February, shortly after Valentine’s
Day, Pinterest users, who call themselves "Pinners," showed an
interest in baking at home, leading Hershey to focus on 10-ounce
(284-gram) Hershey’s kisses and seasonal Reese’s miniatures
    When people posted images suggesting they were planning to
take part in more at-home activities, community-led Easter egg
hunts and barbecues in the two weeks before Easter Sunday,
Hershey focused on selling limited-time products such as Reese’s
mallow-top peanut butter cups, as it found marshmallows to be
popular around this season.  
    "It all just shifted so quickly," Hershey spokeswoman
Kleinfelter said, "so social media was really critical in
understanding the quick sweeps (in consumer behavior) that we
were seeing and when these quick sweeps (are) happening.

 (Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru and Silke
Koltrowitz in Zurich; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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