Food & Drink » Food & Wine

King Creamy

The Hershey Company is betting that 50 million Elvis Cups can't be wrong.

by

comment

You probably didn't wake up this morning thinking either of these two things: that we need some more variations on the peanut butter cup, or that we need some more Elvis-centered promotions. But, thanks to the folks at the Hershey Company, we now have both.

That's right. Reese's Elvis Cups have come to a store near you. Playing on the King's reported love of the peanut butter and banana sandwich, the Elvis Cup features a thin layer of banana crème in addition to the usual chocolate and peanut butter.

If you haven't been paying attention, Hershey has been tweaking the Reese's formula for years now. It's introduced "Crispy Crunchy Bars," "Big Cups" with nuts, caramel cups, "Nutrageous" bars, the "Fast Break" with nougat, white-chocolate cups, dipped cookies, layered cookies, and brownies.

And now Hershey has applied the Elvis formula. First, add banana — though a true Elvis snack would have to be fried, and we'll give you extra points if you figure out how to fry one of these peanut butter cups. Next, since this was an Elvis product launch, Hershey added members of what their marketing director called "Elvis' inner circle." ("Memphis Mafia" is not a PC term, apparently.) So Larry Geller and George Klein got a trip to New York City for the Elvis Cup launch, held last week.

Next, there has to be music, so the New York event included several "tribute artists" (you know them as "impersonators"). And, of course, there has to be a pink Cadillac — in this case, a 1957 that Boyd Coddington of American Hot Rod on TLC has tricked out into a 500-horsepower Elvis Tribute Car. It's the grand prize (along with $150,000 in cash) in the "Live Like the King" sweepstakes. And, of course, since this is an Elvis contest, there must be televisions. The Elvis Tribute Car has several, as well as an MP3 player, DVD player, and a fridge in the trunk. In fact, they've been building the car on Coddington's show, and the final installment airs on Thursday, July 26th. Other contest prizes include a trip for four to Graceland, a scarf worn by Elvis, Elvis-style shades, and an Elvis license plate.

Brandon Solano, marketing director for Reese's, says the brand is betting big on the King: 50 million Elvis Cups and 100,000 store displays are being created in the biggest promotion in Reese's history, he says. Reese's has even decked out Kevin Harvick's #29 NASCAR Reese's car with "Elvis all over it" for an upcoming race.

"Elvis is as relevant today as ever," Solano says. "He's an American icon, and in a lot of ways, he's timeless. I'm told that at Graceland, nearly half the

visitors are under 35."

Solano says the Elvis Cup idea was born last summer when an episode of American Idol was shot in Memphis.

It took several months to work out the recipe.

"We went through a number of samples," Solano says. "We had to figure out how much banana to use, should it be ripe or green banana, should it be a circus-type peanut flavor."

There are four different images of Elvis available on the packaging: Vegas Elvis and '50s Elvis on the standard cups, Hawaii Elvis on the "King Size" big cups, and '68 Comeback Elvis on the minis.

Solano says Elvis collectors were already on the scene in Manhattan and ordering in bulk.

"The inner-circle guys where happy with the promotion," Solano says, referring to Klein and company. "That was very gratifying for us."

Solano says the cups will be available through December. The tribute car will also be appearing at Graceland during Elvis Week activities.

For more information on Hershey's Elvis Cup, go to Reeses.com.

Add a comment