A major deal has been confirmed by the Hershey Company in renewing its partnership with Team USA, partnering for the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games, writes Neill Barston.
The company spoke to Confectionery Production about the move at this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, which it believed would prove a significant launchpad for a number of joint initiatives over the coming years.
As the business noted, it will support Team USA through to 2028 when the Games return to American soil in Los Angeles, as well as during Paris 2024 and Milan Cortina 2026.
“We’re proud that our iconic brands will continue to be a part of celebrations and the moments of goodness for both athletes and fans supporting Team USA through the LA28 Games,” said Vero Villasenor, vice president of confection, The Hershey Company. “Our employees, partners and consumers who love our brands all share a passion and pride in celebrating our U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes.”
Notably, the company joins the much-anticipated LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games as its first domestic food partner. The Olympic and Paralympic Games will return to the U.S. in 2028 for the first time since the Salt Lake City Winter Games 2002, with LA28 as the first Summer Games in the U.S. since Atlanta 1996. This will be Los Angeles’ third time hosting the Olympic Games and the first time hosting the Paralympic Games.
“Hershey has been a champion of Team USA’s athletes and their iconic successes since 2015, and we’re thrilled they’ll continue alongside us on the road to the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Dave Mingey, senior vice president, partnership management and activation, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Properties. “We’re especially proud to have a renowned American brand like Hershey partner with the LA28 Games to co-create an experience that empowers fans and athletes and builds on the excellence of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement.”
The renewed agreement builds on the partnership and support Hershey provided to Team USA athletes who competed in Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020. Hershey will also utilize NBCUniversal’s Olympic and Paralympic media platforms to support the partnerships through 2028.
Diversity music initiative
In another notable partnership, the Hershey Company, and non-profit group Memphis Music Initiative (MMI), have signed a multi-year agreement to elevate Black voices through music. As part of the deal, youth and staff from MMI collaborated with Hershey, in developing a new pilot campaign, Beat of the Future, to celebrate Black Music Month in June.
The Beat of the Future campaign and partnership with MMI will honour the rich music legacy of Memphis by celebrating not only the music of Memphis’ storied past, but also the transformative role that music plays for youth across the city. Through this program, Hershey recognises that music is a universal thread that crosses all cultures and has the power to connect communities. Black music, in particular, has been instrumental in creating meaningful dialogue and universally connecting diverse groups.
“At Hershey, we have a legacy of creating connection, building community and supporting children and youth,” said Vero Villasenor, vice president of confection, The Hershey Company. “This legacy and our ongoing commitment to support the Black community inspired our partnership and the Beat of the Future campaign. MMI has been a truly terrific partner. Students and MMI staff were integral to developing the campaign. We’re thrilled to support MMI and its mission of creating equitable opportunities for Black and Brown youth in Memphis.”
Since 2015, MMI has encouraged young people to become creatively immersed in their past, critically engaged in the present, and more able to determine their future through the power of music and arts. The Memphis-based non-profit supports students K-12 through in-school and out-of-school programs resulting in more than 150,000 hours of student engagement, more than 25,000 students served and the equivalent of $9 million invested in support for local public schools in Shelby County, Tennessee.