Social media is mobile media, said Ronalee Zarate-Bayani, head of global integrated marketing and digital advancement at The Hershey Company, at the Mobile Marketing Association Mobile Marketing Leadership Forum this week in New York City.

With that in mind, The Hershey Company decided to overhaul its marketing campaigns for the hard candy brand Jolly Rancher with a mobile and social focus.

Jolly Rancher’s target market is U.S. consumers ages 18-24, which is on the younger end of millennial consumers, Zarate-Bayani said. The Jolly Rancher brand wasn’t resonating with the daily lives of its target audience, so the brand decided to launch a bold social media campaign on mobile with the tagline:  “Whatever life throws at you, keep on sucking.”

Jolly Rancher’s #KeepOnSucking campaign, plays off of how consumers eat the candy—by sucking—and the negative meaning of the word. For example, if a consumer has to sit in the middle in the backseat of a car, that sucks. He should have a Jolly Rancher to keep on sucking.

The campaign has produced results. Within the first six months of the new mobile and social campaign, hard candy sales increased 12.5% year over year. Even after the first six months, sales continue to increase, Zarate-Bayani said.

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Jolly Rancher is distributing these messages and ads on popular social media apps, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.  Across its social networks, it publishes more than 500 posts each month, Zarate-Bayani said. The brand does not put the same piece of content across all the social media platforms, but tailors each piece for each specific social app she said.

“These ads drive much more impact and relevance than seeing the same ad five times,” Zarate-Bayani said. “This is reaching me in a way when I am ready to reach it,” she said of how consumers are absorbing the ads.

For example, Jolly Rancher executed a #ValentinesDaySucks campaign on Instagram that focused on the emotional aspects of the holiday. In one week, Jolly Rancher published 25 planned posts on Instagram, 100 paid influencer posts (posts by social media personalities who have large followings), 126 real-time responses and 197 one-to-one responses. This resulted in 23 million impressions and 634,000 engagements, she said.

The Hershey Company decided to execute this bold social media campaign as a pilot with Jolly Rancher because it is among the less popular brands in the company’s portfolio, Zarate-Bayani said.

“We didn’t go with our flagship brand. We didn’t do Hershey or Reese’s,” said Zarate-Bayani. “We started with a smaller brand that flew under the radar, in order to build credibility internally, and then to shift it across the portfolio of brands.”

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