When Hershey’s asked for a breakthrough experience on the world’s most famous screen, we had to oblige.

Hershey's Milkshake

Welcome to the Crossroads of the World

Every day in Times Square, the world’s biggest brands showcase over 200 ads to over 400,000 people, up to 400 times a day. Rival billboards, distracting phone screens, and more competed daily for the eyes and earnings of those visiting the area. It’s the world’s busiest billboard extravaganza!

We partnered with Hershey’s to cut through the clutter. The Hershey Chocolate World store had been there for many years, but it didn’t stand out. Tourists saw the Hershey’s billboard and signage, but didn’t realize Hershey’s Chocolate World was underneath.
Enter Leap Group.

So how did we do it?

Make Hershey’s Chocolate World the Epicenter of the Epicenter

Every day in Times Square, the world’s biggest brands showcase over 200 ads to over 400,000 people, up to 400 times a day. Rival billboards, distracting phone screens, and more competed daily for the eyes and earnings of those visiting the area. It’s the world’s busiest billboard extravaganza!

Become the Go-To Times Square Selfie

Iconic backgrounds and photo-ops are essential to the Times Square experience. The Hershey’s screen had the potential to become a dynamic, interactive, wallpapered backdrop for shareable photos and selfies that would attract others to the area to replicate. It has even been featured now in Ryan Seacrest’s New Years’ Eve countdown.

Times Square

Do It for The Kids

Times Square has tons of activities, yet nothing overtly screams “KID!” or “FAMILY FRIENDLY!” Most digital screens plastered across the area are all geared toward adults. This was a huge opportunity for Hershey’s Chocolate World to capitalize on that and put a flag in the ground (with a Kiss ribbon, of course) as the most playful, must-visit store for kids and families.

Make Room for Dessert

Hershey’s Chocolate World didn’t showcase their store’s sweets on 7th Avenue where there’s significant foot traffic. Additionally, among the lineup of food trucks at the south end of the store on W. 47th Street, none offer dessert. We found opportunities to elevate Hershey’s Chocolate World’s treats, personalized bars, swag, and more at the street level.

There’s Always Room for More

The end result was a seven-story screen, the largest of its kind, on the busiest intersection in the world. A big deal, yet no big deal because it’s the same as any other brand challenge—get a bunch of busy, distracted people to stop what they’re doing, look up, and engage. In Times Square’s chaotic environment, we followed our number one rule to keep things simple. We celebrated America’s favorite candy brand by embracing their instantly recognizable iconic assets and using them in bold, fresh, and dynamic ways.

But we didn’t stop there. We helped choreograph the entire show. From outside the store to inside, we worked with the Hershey’s creative team to bring the whole experience to life.

Times Square Carousel
Times Square Carousel
Times Square Carousel
Times Square Carousel

A Delicious Digital Strategy

Our qualitative analysis found tourists behaved differently from morning, to afternoon, to evening. So, we created multi-pronged directional campaigns to target Times Square consumers digitally as they arrived in New York City, engage them once stepping foot in Times Square, and ultimately drive them into the Hershey’s Chocolate World store to the point of conversion to increase sales and create a memorable experience.

Delicious Digital

Calculated Reach

To extend the shelf life of our dynamic out-of-home creative, we divided and conquered with ongoing social media campaigns that furthered reach and frequency to our most engaged users where they were most active. With both a domestic and international core audience of tourists, geolocation was dialed in to target those whose most recent location was within New York City, but whose homes were more than 125+ miles away. Our social media campaigns utilized Facebook and Instagram’s demographic- and interest-targeting options to deliver our creative to those in the area with a sweet tooth.

Craveable Creative – Holiday Campaign

One of our social video campaigns was for the holiday season. This particular campaign featured four :30 clips of the sweets-filled billboard video and was optimized for awareness to target families on Facebook and Instagram who love chocolate and NYC’s classic holiday traditions. We also ran two sets of targeted YouTube ads. The first series highlighted tourists using our billboard creative to take selfies showcasing their NYC visit, and the second series promoted the deliciousness of the store itself, from premium one-of-a-kind confections to the ability to create your own custom candy bar. For this holiday social campaign, we again used Facebook’s and Instagram’s location data but also the Custom Audiences to reach users within 2 miles of the Hershey’s Chocolate World location and had previously viewed one of the Hershey videos.

Immersive Experience

We then ran a traffic campaign featuring carousel ads that aligned with the billboard and directed users to the Hershey’s Chocolate World store location. Finally, in-store videos sealed the deal. A series of kiosks and animations across the store interior directed customers where and how to fully enjoy their sweetest Times Square experience.

Holiday Campaign Results

December Sales

16% Increase vs. Prior Year

December Sales of Premium Items

103% Increase vs. Prior Year

Victory is Sweet

Our holiday campaign garnered numerous awards and recognitions from some of the most prestigious organizations in the business including Communication Arts, Addys, The Webby Awards, IAC, WebAward, Horizon, The Telly Awards, Davey Awards and The Communicator Awards.
We received an AME award for Marketing Effectiveness including Best use of Branded Content and Best Use for Products/Services in a Promotion. We also won New York Festivals WorldMedal for Best use of Medium, Best use of Out-of-Home.
In fact, we won over 35 gold awards including Best of Show for Advertising Integrated Campaign at multiple award shows.
Horizon Awards
Webby Award
Web Award
w3 awards
Telly awards
IAC Awards
Dave Awards
Communicator awards
AME Awards
AIVA Award
Communication Arts Awards