Inside the campaign for Reese’s instant sell-out Thanksgiving Pie

Giant Reese's Peanut Butter Cup pie.

Planning for the earned media push for the oversized peanut butter cups started in late summer.

It only took two hours for Reese’s Thanksgiving Pie – a 3.4-pound peanut butter cup with a nine-inch diameter – to sell out on Monday morning.

Only 3,000 pies were available for purchase on Hershey's website for $44.99 plus tax. They went on sale at 9 a.m. EST and were all claimed two hours later.

Kaylee Dugan, associate manager of earned media for The Hershey Company, said her team was taking guesses about how quickly the pies would sell out.

Reese’s fans who missed their opportunity won’t get another chance this year. Dugan said Reese’s doesn’t have plans to make more of the pies this year, but it could be something the brand will do again.

Planning for the campaign started in late summer. Dugan explained that people love Reese’s but wanted something more “and what’s more than the biggest Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup?” 

“Reese’s is the number one candy brand for Halloween and the holidays, so there was a little bit of a hiatus in the Thanksgiving timeframe,” said Bo Jones, senior associate brand manager at Reese's. “So we wanted to create a distinct proposition to feed into your cravings and the things you want at your Thanksgiving table.”

Dugan added that Thanksgiving also fit the bill because the pie gives fans something to be thankful for. 

“Also the best part of Thanksgiving is dessert, so we wanted to take that to the next level,” she said. 

To get word out, the pies were sent out last week to 75 media outlets under embargo. The campaign relied on earned media. 

“We wanted to show them this insane, large, nine-inch pie they could use for their Thanksgiving table,” said Dugan. “Getting it and holding it in your hand is shocking.” 

CNN, Fox Business, Food and Wine and Hypebeast are among the outlets that covered the product.

The brand also sent the pies to some select “super fans” who aren’t paid influencers, but just “candy influencers who know our product and industry,” said Dugan.

Additionally, Reese’s posted about the pies on its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter pages.  


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Agencies that supported the campaign include FleishmanHillard, McGarryBowen and CSweet Studios. Budget information was not disclosed.

This story first appeared on PRWeek US.


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