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House Party Combines Social Events with Social Media

Hersheys_bliss Recently in my review of promotional marketing campaigns I came across an interesting promotion that The Hershey Co. executed in which they utilized themed house parties via House Party, a new marketing services firm. Hershey’s had 10,200 “House of Bliss” parties going on over the April 25 weekend to support the launch of it's new Hershey’s Bliss chocolate line that featured the chocolate products as it's main attraction.

I thought this was a pretty innovative promotion that really was all about marketing to women, online and off, so I went and checked out what House Party is all about. Here's what I learned:

Houseparty_logoA House Party™ is a viral marketing platform that develops and launches a thousand parties on one day, in homes nationwide, with an exclusive brand experience at the center of the action. These specially designed parties take place across the country in the homes of carefully selected consumer Hosts who can invite their friends, family, neighbors, classmates , co-workers, whoever they wish, into their homes to experience these uniquely fun parties and the products they feature.

At Hershey's "House of Bliss" parties the hosts invited friends and family to share personal stories of bliss while sampling three Hershey’s Bliss varieties of the bite-sized chocolate: Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate Meltaway...yum! Stories, photos and videos were posted online here. Some hosts created “Blissful Memories Scrapbooks" with supplied downloadable scrapbook designs, while others offered trivia game parties. Party goers received goodie bags and giveaways from hosts, including grocery list pads, pens and fridge magnets.

“What better way to introduce Hershey’s Bliss than to bring this experience to life and encourage party-goers to share everyday bliss with their own friends and family,” said Michele Buck, senior vice president, global chief marketing officer of Hershey's.

More than 129,000 people attended the Hershey's Bliss parties, the largest draw for a House Party event to date the company said. The parties also drew more than 22,000 digital photos and 15,000 blog entries.

Hosts were found through Hershey’s Newsletter, women’s/chocolate blogs and through House Party’s database. The company selects hosts based on questionnaire answers that best align with the brands goals. The parties typically cost the brand between $100,000 to $250,000 depending on the number planned. That fee covers the hosts’ search, the cost to supply samples and the fee to track the results.

Tnts_party Right now House Party is accepting applications to host a TNT Ladies Night House Party featuring The Closer and Saving Grace. TNT's goal is to promote their summer season by highlighting the new episodes of these two shows that are back starring Kyra Sedgwick and Holly Hunter. The parties will take place a week before both series premier's, July 7th. The selected hosts will get the following goodies to give their guests:

  • 1 DVD, featuring exclusive content for the new seasons of The Closer and Saving Grace, and other behind-the-scenes sneak peeks
  • 10 Deluxe Wine Totes
  • 10 Wine Glasses
  • 10 Wine Openers
  • 10 Wine Glass Charms

Margaritaville_party I'm so sorry I just missed the Margaritaville House Party which was sponsored by Margaritaville Cargo on May 24th. The party favors included a "Changes in Latitude" party guide, frozen concoction drink recipes, food recipes, summer games and songs and plenty of Margaritaville Cargo logo decorations. Now that sounds like my kinda party!

What a really cool business model House Party has developed. They integrate actual social events that happen in the real world with social media in the online world. A pretty progressive approach, don't you think? Also it appears that most of their hosts are women. Who better to plan events such as these and then follow through by uploading videos, photos and blog entries online to share their experiences.

While women appear to be the main target audience here, depending on the brand, the parties themselves may include both sexes. I'm tempted to apply to host a party myself just to try it out. Besides the TNT party coming up there's a few others scheduled that are specifically for new moms... one is sponsored by Gerber and another by Pampers. I'm over and done with that time of my life so for now I think I'll stick to the chocolate, wine and tequila type parties myself.


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