Hershey's is speaking out after its decision to change up its iconic Kisses "Christmas Bells" commercial sparked outrage online. The commercial, conceptualized in 1989 and now the company’s longest-running commercial, has marked the beginning of the holiday season for many, though those who saw it on their TV screens this year were disgruntled over the slight makeover.
The TV spot, running just a few seconds, originally featured a set of Kisses standing in the place of bells that play a rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." While the original commercial ended with one of the bells wiping its "brow" with exhaustion, after 30 years of airing, that ending has been swapped for a hand sneaking in to grab one of the Kisses. The commercial then cuts to a father-daughter duo using the small chocolates to make Peanut Butter Blossoms, with the song continuing to play on brass instruments instead of bells.
Hershey's updated their iconic Christmas commercial, and it doesn't have the same impact IMO. pic.twitter.com/A6jyNV0udf— The King of Paper (@Paperking99) November 29, 2020
Backlash over the revamped ad had been swift, with social media quickly flooding with outraged posts from viewers who were clearly not a fan of the new commercial. One person wrote, "just when I thought 2020 couldn't get worse, my favorite Christmas commercial has been changed." Another person asked the company to "please go back to the original version or the commercial with the bell ringing kisses," adding that the commercial is now "ruined." A third, stating the revamp was "emotionally scarring," suggested that Hershey's should have done "a new commercial" rather than "screw with the ones you have run for years."
The backlash was so fierce that several Change.org petitions were created in an effort to bring back the original ad. According to Fox News, one person, who admitted that "this may not be something that warrants a petition," created a petition to "get our old commercial back!" Another petition wrote that "while we understand all commercials come to an end eventually, it feels a little wrong to end right here. We understand it's gonna have to end eventually, maybe it needs an extension just to squeeze out that last bit of joy. 4 years, 9 years, 14 years, or 19 years."
After days of outrage, Hershey's finally responded, telling Today in a statement that they "made the decision to make a slight update to the original that kept the opening holiday melodies and incorporated another holiday tradition, baking — melding together these two time-honored traditions. From playing the bells to baking peanut butter blossoms, it’s Hershey's Kisses that have stood the test of time."
The company added that fans rallying for the original ad aren’t out of luck, as both the "Christmas Bells" and "Bells to Blossoms" commercials will air this holiday season. The company noted, "for viewers who love our original – don’t worry, we'll be running both holiday ads this season. Keep your eyes peeled for our classic and iconic Bells spot as well as the newest 'Bells to Blossoms.'"