A Data-Driven, Tech-Enabled Media Approach: A Q&A with Hershey's Charlie Chappell

September 26, 2019

By Bill Duggan

ANA

Charlie Chappell is head of integrated media and communications planning at The Hershey Company. He’ll be speaking at the 2019 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference, and was recently interviewed by ANA group EVP Bill Duggan.

 

Q. How does someone with brand management roots at Procter & Gamble end up being the head of media for one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world?

I’ve had the privilege to work on many well-known brands and have had a pretty diverse brand management career. When Hershey came to me, they basically asked, “What’s the one thing you haven’t done that you would like to learn?” I knew instantly it was media.

It was a challenge to lead the transition from a successful but traditional approach to media, and evolve to where we are now. But I think bringing the same goals — sales, share and profit — to the approach has helped succeed in that transformation. We’ve made sure changes in media strategy are grounded in business fundamentals.

 

Q. Your role is charged with transforming Hershey’s approach to media as consumers change their media consumption habits. What have been some of the recent changes made to Hershey’s approach to media?

The biggest change that we’re undergoing is moving to a data-driven, tech-enabled approach to buying and planning media instead of just buying mass media.

Mass media plays an important role, but it’s not all we do. It’s about knowing the platforms that consumers are going to, which are also tech/data-enabled. The challenge is that we don’t own the relationship with the consumer on the platforms because of our retail business model — but we’re getting closer.

 

Q. It’s interesting that many traditional retailers also have media-related offerings. What are the opportunities and challenges when working with retailers as media companies?

More and more retailers are acting as publishers. Their media teams are approaching manufacturers about advertising. What they lose sight of is that as advertisers, manufacturers have choices. The outside media environment is highly competitive.

These retail media teams are not only competing against Facebook and Google, they are often competing against other media teams from their own company.

So, you need a lot of communication between manufacturers and retailers, including all media teams and merchandise teams, in tandem with retail planning in its most traditional sense. That way retailers can better understand the overall holistic impact of the manufacturer’s investment. The key is to obtain a truer picture of how you can leverage the broader business for the greater good.

 

Q. What has been Hershey’s experience with OTT/connected TV?

We’re excited about the opportunity in OTT and connected TV, but we’re finding the biggest challenge is navigating this complex ecosystem. Its complexity is evident in that we can’t even decide what to call it.

We call it streaming TV. And that’s TV-like content not delivered by cable or satellite. This helps our brands understand where it fits in our total media mix. But we anticipate that the total media landscape will change over the next one to two years, and we’ll be watching.

 

Q. Pick one: in-house agencies, influencers, data. What is Hershey doing that’s new?

I would say data. We’ve recently added a role to build a consistent audience from platform to platform. For example, brands had to make choices because their audience on Facebook may have been different than their audience on YouTube because the people building the audiences were different.

We’ve bridged that gap in a new way by bringing on a data scientist with a background in ad tech to solve a modern and evolving challenge — so it’s really different from the days of just buying mass media.


This blog post was originally published on Marketing Daily.


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