Ghirardelli squares are known for their “luscious” bites of chocolate with fillings like caramel that kick a moment of indulgence up a notch. But this summer, Ghirardelli is inviting consumers to elevate everyday indulgences, like the summer classic, the s’more, with its squares that provide “the perfect bite.” What began as a shopper marketing program evolved post-pandemic into a first for the brand: An experiential sampling campaign in cities across the country, where consumers are invited to relax, roast marshmallows, and taste the difference Ghirardelli makes.
The 20-foot by 20-foot flexible footprint is designed to look like a backyard. It includes four decking surfaces with a group of Adirondack chairs on top, portable Solo Stove firepits (a partner in the experience), disposable marshmallow roasting sticks, and branded blankets. Nearby, brand ambassadors serve up samples from branded food carts, while corn hole games with the message “Get s’more out of summer” and “Makes s’mores a bite better,” as well as live entertainment, offer a call to action for consumers to engage for a while.
The tour is traveling in a branded Airstream trailer that serves as a nod to outdoor experiences, like camping, where s’mores are enjoyed. It kicked off July 3-4 in Orlando, FL, and will target six cities in between this month and in August before wrapping Sept. 3-4 at Ghirardelli headquarters in San Francisco.
Bobby Oliver, general manager/head of confection brands at Ghirardelli, says the measurement strategy is intentionally “simple.” The brand will be analyzing samples distributed, foot traffic, and collecting post-experience surveys on tablets. The team is also incorporating coupons and other incentives to drive consumers into retail to capture redemption data, as well as delivering unboxing experiences to influencers to help amplify the campaign on social media.
“Ghirardelli has wanted to play in the s’mores space for the last few years—there are over 300 million s’mores eaten annually, and there’s typically one choice [for the chocolate] that is top of mind,” Oliver says. “We realized this was a big opportunity to connect with consumers and make it easy for them to share a moment with family and friends over a quick bite of chocolate in a summertime classic, but give them a high-quality, premium way to experience it like no other.”