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How do chocolate brands rely on Easter for their marketing?

The months between Christmas and Easter always feel like a long stretch and many of us gladly embrace the spring with open arms. 

Easter promises lighter evenings, warmer weather, and some time off. The festive timestamp also represents tradition, new beginnings, and…chocolate.

The Easter break is when it feels totally acceptable to stuff our faces with chocolate eggs, mini chocolate bunnies, and festive-themed treats. It's certainly a sweet time of year - and not only for our taste buds.

The commercialisation of Easter has completely revolutionised the chocolate industry. For the chocolate industry, Easter is an absolute goldmine. It’s a marketing mecca for brands that rely on Easter to churn out sales quicker than it takes a 10-year-old to eat a bag of mini eggs.

With the stakes so high at Easter, it’s no wonder that many companies launch fresh marketing campaigns every April. Many brands spend the year quietly planning their next Easter marketing move. And why wouldn’t they?

An annual staple for marketing, Easter is the third most profitable time of the year for manufacturers. On average the typical UK consumer is expected to spend £30 on Easter gifts, totaling a huge £1 billion.

Keeping a sweet reputation is important

The last few decades have undergone a major shift in terms of sustainable business practices. Businesses have drastically reshaped their values and practices to address growing environmental and ethical concerns. The chocolate industry is no exception. And when it comes to the environment, the confectionary giants don't exactly have a clean record.

Perhaps the biggest recent shift for many chocolate brands has been the controversy over palm oil sourcing.

It has been estimated that rainforests are being destroyed at a rate of 300 football pitches an hour, destroying land in Indonesia and Malaysia, where 90% of the world’s certified palm oil is sourced.

As of 2012, brands must legally declare their usage of palm oil. Brands that aren’t compliant with modern-day ethical business practices will simply fall short. The ‘Good Egg Award’ campaign was even launched to morally shame the brands that were not practising ethical operations. According to Forbes,

“While some companies won the Good Egg Award because of their performance on sustainability and their environmental work, some received the lowest mark “Rotten Egg Award” because of a lack of traceability in their supply chains.” (Forbes, 2022).

So, for chocolate manufacturers who do not abide by these business practices, it can be pretty disastrous.

And it's not just for chocolate manufacturers, either. Customers are curious about the sourcing of the ingredients used in the products they consume, so it's important to be completely transparent from the outset.

A sweet opportunity

Every year, confectionary giants compete with one another to have the most memorable marketing campaigns.

During the pandemic, Cadbury's dominated Easter marketing with their global Easter Egg hunt. The virtual Easter egg hunt prompted audiences to hunt for digital Easter eggs via Google's Street View feature. The creative campaign was a huge hit, with a whopping 14,000 chocolate egg giveaway to lucky winners. Inclusive, innovative, and successful, the campaign completely nailed the 'Easter but make it COVID-conscious' tactic, drawing an extra 1.78 million site visits.

But it's not only the chocolate giants who profit from Easter.

Let's not forget about Deliveroo's 2019's Game of Thrones Easter campaign. Customers were able to order three chocolate eggs for a discount price through the app.

Then there was Carlsberg's 'if Carlsberg did chocolate' campaign, which gave a completely new meaning to the 'bar of chocolate.' The streets of Shoreditch welcomed an entire edible bar made of chocolate. A total marketing curveball - but certainly memorable.

Any business can do Easter marketing

Easter marketing isn't just for chocolate brands.

Easter is a time for relaxing, spending time with family, and fresh starts. It's essentially Christmas 2.0 for many businesses, no matter what their products or services are. People have a little bit more time on their hands during their break, and we all know the equation.

Festive holidays + time off work = money-spending customers.

Even brands that are utterly unrelated to food and beverage can participate in this annual opportunity to showcase their brand with an Easter marketing campaign.

So even if your business is totally unrelated to the concept of Easter, you can still be opportunist whatever the nature of your business. Taking advantage of public holidays with fresh marketing campaigns shows you stay current. It also gives you an excuse to create a new, innovative marketing campaign aligned with goldmine festive periods 

It provides the perfect opportunity to release interactive marketing campaigns like giveaways and competitions – and every business knows their customers love the opportunity to bag themselves free stuff.

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