CHICAGO: Maltesers, the chocolate brand owned by Mars, believes an influencer-driven launch strategy can help it successfully attract attention from young consumers in the US. Rebecca Duke, Senior Brand Manager/Mars Chocolate North America, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2017 Brand Activation Conference.

"Our overreaching plan was to connect authentically with Gen Z teens. They're unique in the sense of how they actually want to be spoken to," she said. (For more details, read WARC's exclusive report: How Mars' Maltesers bites into US market.)

Based on this insight, Maltesers – which first hit store shelves in America earlier this year – has partnered with influencers as a means of reaching this target audience in a way they can relate to and will engage with.

"You're going to see storytelling throughout the year with [online] creators. The brand is going to get really deep with them and their passion points," said Duke.

"They'll become the catalysts who tell stories that are going to be really fun, but also really connect to the brand and to the creators' audiences."

Maltesers' positioning is premised around the tagline "Look on the Light Side", and will take a light-hearted tone when it comes to dealing with the "awkward situations in life", said Duke. "It's really about not taking life too seriously."

Spearheaded by a "very splashy" online video, the launch campaign is a year-long effort that will introduce the candy line to a US consumer base with low levels of familiarity with Maltesers, which have long been a popular treat in nations like the UK and Australia.

"We knew we wanted a longer launch because we actually needed to educate people and drive a little bit of awareness of Maltesers and create brand meaning," Duke said.

"The last piece of the approach will be with real-life events, where Maltesers is going to create opportunities for the creators and their audiences to come together and really have fun as they commiserate and bring out the light side of life together."

Data sourced from WARC