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The Sweet Smell of Success: How CPG Brands are Bringing Their Brands to Life with Experiential Stores

Caroline Wu
Mar 29, 2024
The Sweet Smell of Success: How CPG Brands are Bringing Their Brands to Life with Experiential Stores

Brands like M&Ms, Hershey’s, and Jelly Belly are redefining what it means to be as happy as a “kid in a candy store.”  With their life-size M&M characters on a flagship in Orlando, FL, a chocolate Statue of Liberty sculpted out of 800 pounds of Hershey’s chocolate on the Las Vegas Strip, or a working jellybean factory tour in Fairfield, CA, manufacturers are literally bringing their brands to life. M&M’s World in Orlando, FL posted particularly impressive year-over-year visits in the second half of 2023.

Recently, Hollywood darling Timothee Chalamet starred in the fantastical movie Wonka, grossing $600M+ worldwide. In other headline news, the “tried to jump on the wagon but failed miserably” fiasco of the unauthorized Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Scotland reveals that the appetite for sweets and chocolate is insatiable. Never fear, if you missed the Candytopia pop-up a few years ago, you can head over to Dylan’s Candy Bar for an experience right out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s clear that demand peaks in the summer, probably due to locations that see summer tourists. The holidays are another popular season for buying sweets.

At Hershey’s Chocolate World, one can be immersed in all-things chocolate, from creating your own candy to taking a selfie with a life-size Reese’s peanut butter cup. The dessert options are limited only by your imagination. That tower of S’mores sure looks tempting!

Hershey Desserts

Many visitors also opt to visit the Hershey Story Museum or stay at Hershey Lodge or the Hotel Hershey.

Hershey Visitor Journey 3.20.24

If you prefer your sweets in liquid form, there are three Coca-Cola Stores--in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Orlando--to satisfy your cravings. Here, you can buy a Coke plushie, flout the famous “Enjoy Coca-Cola” slogan shirt in a variety of languages, or dress yourself head-to-toe in comfy Coke PJs. One of the coolest options is an international tasting flight that lets you try out Coca-Cola beverages from around the world, with flavors like sparberry from Zimbabwe.

Coca Cola Around the World tasting flight

At the Coca-Cola Store in Orlando, FL, visitation jumps during vacations like Spring Break, summer, and Christmas holidays.

Another beloved brand that has made its way into brick-and-mortar is King’s Hawaiian. Founded in 1950, they were famous for their round loaves of sweet and fluffy Hawaiian bread. Fast forward three-quarters of a century later, and they have added new options like savory dinner rolls or pull-apart pans of bread. One can experience gastronomic delights made with Hawaiian bread at their Torrance-based King’s Hawaiian Bakery and Restaurant.

The restaurant menu includes breakfasts featuring their famous King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread as French toast, lunch and dinner options like Macadamia Nut Onion Rings, Chicken Katsu Curry Loco Moco, and Saimin noodles, but it’s the bakery that literally takes the cake. The Paradise Delight Cake has three layers of chiffon cake in enticing flavors like guava, passionfruit, and lime. It is then topped with layers of fresh strawberries, peaches, and kiwis. One can also choose from chocolate, coconut, pineapple, raspberry cakes, and more.

Kings Hawaiian Pardise Delight Cake

With Placer's ranking of "Breakfast, Coffee, Bakeries, and Dessert Shops" indicating that King's is in the top 1% nationwide and statewide, it looks like they've found a sweet recipe for success.

Kings hawaiian ranking overview

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Caroline Wu

Director of Research,

Caroline brings expertise in retail, CRE, entertainment, media, CPG, and tourism, and specializes in synthesizing broad datasets into actionable recommendations for growth. She has worked as the US Director of Consumer Insights at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, VP of Retail Insights and Intelligence at Omnicom, and Senior Director at Kantar. Caroline holds an MA in Sociology from Stanford University and a BA in International Relations from Stanford University.

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