Hershey’s is celebrating the 161st birthday of its founder with a digital campaign called “Heartwarming the World.” In addition to sending its own employees to share candy, the confectioner shared four stories about how Hershey’s chocolate is being used to bring people together.
September 13 is the 161st anniversary of the birth of Milton Hershey, founder of the famous chocolate brand. The company holds an annual tradition of sending its employees out of the office and into the neighborhoods to hand out free chocolate bars. This year, the brand is expanding its message of giving beyond its home in Pennsylvania with a series of videos about individuals making a difference—with the help of chocolate, of course.
Using the hashtag #HeartwarmingTheWorld, Hershey’s will officially launch its campaign alongside a program called the “Heartwarming Project,” an initiative to help kids and families build meaningful social connections.
The first story in the campaign is that of Bob Williams, a 93-year-old man that has greeted his neighbors with a Hershey’s XL Milk Chocolate bar for the past two decades. Williams is estimated to have gifted nearly 6,000 bars over the years, whether he’s standing in line or walking down the street. He has gained a reputation in this community of Long Grove, Iowa as “the candy guy” and stocks his refrigerator full of the bars so he’s always prepared.
— HERSHEY'S (@Hersheys) September 13, 2018
The story of best friends Mustafa Hussain and Ahmad Atieh is about two students in New Brunswick, NJ that hand out chocolate bars to fellow students at the beginning of the new semester. Each bar of chocolate comes with a note that says “Smile” and a hand-written message like “You’re Amazing!”
Hershey’s also brought attention to the student council at Big Spring High School, who committed themselves to random acts of kindness and passed out Hershey’s Kisses during finals last semester.
In another story that has yet to receive an accompanying video, Police officers in Brooklyn Park, MN shared Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars with their community with the idea of paying it forward.
Each of the stories was unprompted by Hershey’s, but news of them spread to the legacy brand, which decided to include them in the new campaign.
“When we discovered these stories, we were reminded of what Milton Hershey knew long ago—that we could bring people closer together through the simple gift of our chocolate,” said Chuck Raup, vice president/general manager chocolate at The Hershey Company in a statement.