Talk about brand alignment. When Russell Stover came upon an actual wedding between the Russell and Stover families taking place in Barnstead, NH, it was too good an opportunity to pass up. The confectionery brand, known for its boxes of chocolate gifted during holidays and special occasions, decided to capitalize on the union by working with agency partner 160over90 to provide Russell Stover-themed attire, wedding favors, chocolates and a custom cake for the couple. It announced the wedding on social media with digital invitations and shared photos after the event took place. Our sister publication, Chief Marketer, spoke with Russell Stover’s VP of Marketing, Kim Yates, about the brand’s involvement in the socially-distanced wedding and how new marketing strategies have come to the forefront during COVID-19.
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The union of Jessica Russell and Rich Stover is pretty on brand. How did you discover this opportunity?
Kim Yates: They actually came to us. Cassandra Russell, the bride’s sister, came to a member of our team who sent me the email back in February. It was right around Valentine’s Day, and I said, what a perfect thing: people who love Russell Stover candy, an occasion that we celebrate a lot, and then thinking about celebrating another special occasion. They found us, but we were happy to know their story.
Once you learned about it, how did you transform it into a marketing program?
KY: Cassandra was just happy to tell us the story. Her sister and her future husband have been true fans of the Russel Stover brand their whole lives. They actually had a photo with one of our giant boxes of Russell Stover candy from the previous holiday season. You don’t often hear of a Russell Stover wedding. We’re a chocolate brand and we stand for happiness. We have a whole campaign about “making happy” and we are committed to making life a bit sweeter every day. So, we thought, how wonderful to be part of this wedding story.
How did the brand participate in the wedding?
KY: We tried to do things that were on brand, but we also didn’t want to disrupt the flow of the wedding. The nice thing is that it was an outdoor setting and it was in the fall. The color scheme worked with our color scheme as a brand. We have copper, marble and chocolate brown. We provided custom boxes of chocolates with commemorative champagne flutes. For the wedding party we had bow ties and pocket squares and socks for the men. We had robes for the bridesmaids as they were getting ready and pendant charms for their floral bouquets. For their guests, we had custom Mason jars as a take home gift. And, of course, Russell Stover chocolates. The biggest thing, though, was that we worked with a local bakery in the area to make a custom cake for the couple. The top of the cake resembled our box of chocolates and was surrounded by pieces of Russell Stover chocolate and then filled with some of the couple’s favorite flavors, from coconut to pecan delight. We are thrilled to have that be a centerpiece and something that everybody could enjoy.