The prospect of going into a Czech grocery store is, for me, daunting at best.
It would be like walking into my bedroom and finding all of my possessions replaced by strange furniture and unfamiliar objects. What is Pribináček yogurt and how do I order turkey in kilograms? Where is the cookie dough and why can’t I find milk that isn’t room temperature? This has been one of the biggest culture shocks for me since beginning my study-abroad semester. I’m constantly pining for my American favorites like Dunkin Donuts pumpkin iced coffee and almond butter. What is a world with only three varieties of salsa? Mom, can you ship me a quality roll of sushi with extra ginger from my favorite place? The foods and tastes I miss have been piling up, but they’re not piled nearly as high as the stack of Milka bars I’m bringing home to avoid withdrawal.
Milka is a brand of chocolate prevalent throughout Europe. My eyes scan for the distinctive purple packaging in every potraviny and grocery store. I’ve tried almost all varieties, from hazlenut to raspberry yogurt. Europe’s number one chocolate brand leaves me ashamed to have ever consumed a Hershey’s bar. There is just no comparison to the perfection that is Milka chocolate.
I was first introduced to it by my cousin on a trip to Spain several years ago. She excitedly informed me that it was one of her favorite presents to receive from abroad. Now that I am living in Europe, I don’t think I have been able to last a week without buying a bar. Obviously, I have my cousin’s Christmas present under control. I recently learned through their new campaign, though, that I may be able to send this present sooner than expected.
Milka has made a bold move that aims to unite loved ones around the world by putting to action their slogan, “Dare to be tender”. In each new bar of chocolate there will be one square missing. Alternatively, there will be a code on the inside of the packaging. Consumers can go onto this microsite and enter their code in order to redeem their missing square. They can either request it for themselves or send the chocolate square along with a loving message in the mail to anyone they want. More than ten million chocolate bars have been produced and distributed throughout France and Germany.
I think that this is a genius approach to initiating media involvement and connecting consumers across borders. Milka is encouraging communication and human interaction, even if in the form of a small chocolate square and a heartfelt message. The brand plans to further promote their campaign through television and online videos. Their first video about the project went viral and mailboxes around the world are starting to fill up with this delicious European chocolate. All of the manufacturing has been laboriously reworked to create these incomplete bars. Clearly, something other than creative advertising is at work here. The new process enables people to connect as they can do so easily through social media nowadays. It is simple to send a quick hello or thoughtful message, but sometimes people are given the opportunity to take it a step further. The sending of chocolate is such a wonderfully unique element.
I am impressed that Milka managed to balance their online component with a more dated method of communication, the postal service. I think it’s effective because it brings us back to more primitive interaction with the added convenience of an online process. My cousin may not be able to send me an iced coffee, but I can send her a square of my Milka bar when I visit Paris. I know she’ll open it and appreciate the connection and thought more than the average Facebook message.
Milka’s campaign gives the brand the potential to become universal and it offers consumers the opportunity to connect.
I hope I’ll be buying incomplete Milka bars in Prague soon! They would justifiably replace Pribináček yogurt. I still don’t know what that is.