Social Marketing Brands and Risk


There is a growing demand from consumers for brands to commit to social media and be more visible, accessible and transparent (Gusenburg, 2014). The world spends a whopping 110 BILLION minutes on social media a month – that’s equivalent to almost a quarter of people’s time spent online overall (Bullas, 2010). That is a very compelling reason for candy brands to embrace social media.

However, being on social media has its risks. There is no doubt that brands, be it candy or otherwise, face challenges online. Users are free to post negative comments, complain publicly and occasionally these situations get amplified and become viral. But what is worse – being afraid of attacks on social media or missing out on being where your target audience is?

Methods of traditional broadcasting have now become an inadequate strategy to pursue alone and if a brand does not take control online then someone else definitely will. Consumers are able to generate content of their own to publish on the web, create a handle on Twitter or set up brand pages that are not representative of the business. Social media can stir up legal complications if rules are not followed with advertising online (especially for candy companies) and if issues are ignored, brand reputation can be severely hurt. Nestle is an example of a brand that faced a serious crisis in 2010.


Greenpeace accused Nestle’s Kit Kat brand of purchasing palm-oil from suppliers in Indonesia, endangering orangutans and encouraging greenhouse emissions and deforestation (Ionescu-Somers & Enders, 2012). This sparked a rise in user-generated videos on YouTube attacking the brand, negative comments littered on their Facebook page and tweets mentioning “Nestle Palm Oil” every 15 minutes. This forced Nestle to terminate their contract with the supplier and use palm-oil that is sustainably produced (Kaczkowski, 2010).

Social media is powerful, and should not be underestimated in terms of the damage it can do. Although brands may utterly fail at social media, it hasn’t stopped them from embracing it. As shown in one of my earlier posts, candy brands have many social profiles and most of them are active and posting regularly to engage and interact with their audience. These channels allow brands to join conversations that consumers are having about them in real-time and provides them with opportunities for finding advocates of the brand, energizing their fans and improving customer loyalty. Many brands are also able to completely change something negative and turn it into a positive. Take for instance Reese’s:


Every Christmas, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups offers holiday themed and shaped candies. Although they have been making tree shaped candies since 1993, it wasn’t until last year that fans noticed that peculiar shape of the trees, that looked more like a blob (dubbed “turds”) and customers took to Twitter to vent their disappointment. At first Reese’s started apologizing in a formal way but then they launched a campaign using humorous hashtags #AllTreesAreBeautiful and #Treegate on Twitter as an approach to silence any tree-haters (Snyder, 2015). Many consumers were able to laugh off the turd-like tree shape and this is how the brand was  able to take on critics in a clever way and generate more brand goodwill (Gioglio, n.d.).

Reese's_All_Trees_Are Beautiful_1 Reese's_All_Trees_Are Beautiful_2

Social media also has the potential to drive business decisions, take Cadbury’s:


Cadbury UK is known for their variety of milk chocolates, but Wispa is one of the brand’s most popular products. However, Cadbury’s discontinued the chocolate in the year of 2003 due to falling demand. Thousands of fans lobbied on Facebook hoping for the chocolate brand to put Wispa back on the shelves and Cadbury’s had to respond (Donohue, 2007). By listening to their fans and followers, they relaunched the bar as a trial to see if the desire was genuine and managed to sell 20 million bars in just 7 weeks. The relaunch prompted a 1,800% increase in positive mentions and exceeded the brand’s expectations, putting Wispa back on the shelves of supermarkets permanently (Macmillan, 2012).

With millions of people carrying smartphones, tweeting away, posting on Facebook, writing on blogs, using SnapChat and other social networks, it has opened up a world of opportunities for candy brands to truly connect and interact with their audience in a way that was not possible before.


Why do you think social media should be embraced or ignored by candy brands? Let me know in the comments section below!


Bullas, J. (2010, July 14). 10 Interesting Social Media Statistics. Retrieved from

Donohue, A. (2007, August 20). Cadbury to resurrect Wispa after social network pressure. Retrieved from

Gioglio, J. (n.d.). How Reese’s Took On Its Critics and Won. Retrieved from

Gusenburg, L. (2014, April 24). CEOs: You Can’t Afford to Ignore Social Media Anymore. Retrieved from

Ionescu-Somers, A. & Enders, A. (2012, December 3). How Nestlé dealt with a social media campaign against it. Retrieved from

Kaczkowski, J. (2010, March 28). Nestle’s Social Media Disaster 2010. Retrieved from

Macmillan, G. (2012, April 4). Cadbury reveals impressive results with Twitter for relaunch of Wispa Gold. Retrieved from

Snyder, B. (2015, December 15). Reese’s Had a Hilarious Response to Its Oddly-Shaped Christmas Candy. Retrieved from


13 thoughts on “Social Marketing Brands and Risk

  1. Girl Nine says:

    I think social media should be embraced by candy brands because there are so many avenues to build campaigns surrounding product releases. Social media is a way for Candy Makers to build there brand and share their values. They can reach everyone. Who doesn’t like candy?

    Liked by 1 person

    • trupti-desai says:

      I agree, I don’t think it is even a question these days whether brands should be on social media or not. It has become a compulsory avenue in the promotional mix rather than an optional one. Thanks for your comment 🙂


  2. Lavina says:

    Really informative article there Trupti! I think social media should definitely be embraced by candy brands as that is where their audience is, like you mention in your post. Having said that, it is important, I think, to creatively come up with campaigns that truly engage and inspire the audiences otherwise they will just create “noise” and we all know there is too much of that around, thanks to #contentmarketing done badly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • trupti-desai says:

      Thanks for your comment! That is correct, I am absolutely for consumer-facing brands to be on social media, but at the same time, it is vital for them to be creative in their approach and cut through the noise like you said. There are simply too many brands out there that post for the sake of posting.


  3. athletictrainingandadministration says:

    You make a great point here. If you do not take control of your social media presence then someone else may go ahead and start doing it for you. Some companies may come under attack in social media and this may cause them to shy away from using it but it can leave the door open for others to swoop in. There are several social media sites out there about companies that are not run or managed by the company. Sometimes this can be very beneficial but it can also be detrimental. It is very important to ensure that you are monitoring and maintaining everything that is out there about your company. Even in the candy world

    Liked by 1 person

    • trupti-desai says:

      Absolutely, there are chances many advocates of your brand may open a social network account and post things that are positive, but equally, they are those that collect a genuine following of ‘haters’ that have the ability and power to share negative or misrepresented information. Like you said, the key is to really take control and be where your audience is through social listening and monitoring tools. Thank you for your comment 🙂


  4. ssm4smallbusiness says:

    Another great post my SNHU friend! I think the Reese’s tree response was marketing genius. They truly turned that around and worked that their advantage. Your blog this week was spot on and provided some really great examples this industry has encountered. There seems to always be a risk/reward with all business ventures and finding a balance with social media seems to be the key.
    Fun use of the poll feature! I am going to go back and add one to one of my posts. Looking forward to your next post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • trupti-desai says:

      Haha thanks Ryan! What Reese’s did was indeed genius. It’s fantastic how they were able to think on their feet so quickly and not dampen people’s spirit during Christmas! Exactly, there are always pros and cons with social media, it is about working out the balance like you said. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and the polling feature…I’ll be sure to participate in your poll! Thank you for the comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. sastransky says:

    I keep coming back to your blog because it is so impressive, both from content and design. I love seeing what features you will add next! The polling question has surely been the icing on the cake! As for your post, I never heard about the Reese’s incident. I can see where they went wrong in the design. It appears they did not conduct adequate market testing with consumers on the “tree” shape. While they did try to make light of the situation, and it really wasn’t a big deal, as it wasn’t hurting or offending anyone, they should consider product modifications for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • trupti-desai says:

      Indeed you’ve become my loyal visitor to this blog! 🙂 🙂 I’m really glad you’ve enjoyed my posts and like the design. You’re right, I’ve been tinkering with a few little things here and there for each blog post to add a little spice to the content! I guess with Reese, the flaw like you said is fundamentally their product, but they were able to wave off the complaints in a fun manner. As the trees are only a seasonal occurrence, it can be that no real damage would have been done to their loyal regular customers, nonetheless, they still prevented negativity spreading during the month of Christmas cheer! Thanks for your comment 🙂


      • Kory says:

        Wow, inlebdirce weblog format! How long have you ever been blogging for? you make running a blog glance easy. The full look of your website is fantastic, as neatly as the content material!


      • trupti-desai says:

        Hi Kory! I was only blogging for a few weeks last year. I am glad you liked the site and the content! 🙂


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