Reese’s Pieces

Reeses Pieces

Of all the candies on the market, there is only one that can boast an endorsement of intergalactic stature. For it was the beloved extra-terrestrial buddy in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster 1982 film, E.T. that picked these little morsels as his sustenance of choice. And if Reese’s Pieces were good enough for him, then millions of kids were willing to give them a try as well.

Reece’s Pieces, manufactured by Hershey Foods, are the diminutive cousins of a time-tested favorite, the Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup. They were actually introduced four years prior in 1978, but it was the film character’s stellar endorsement that really launched the product, which resulted in a 65% increase in sales almost overnight.

They are very similar to an M&M, except they have a peanut butter filling, rather than chocolate, which is then surrounded by a candy shell. Interestingly, the filling is not identical to that used in peanut butter cups. Hershey’s tried that first but the oil content of the filling soaked through the outer coating. A few alterations were made and the peanutty goodness was eventually contained within its sugary force field.

Reese’s Pieces are still sold around the planet, now with a few variations on the original concept. A smaller Mini Reece’s Pieces are available, as well as pastel-colored morsels around Easter and, for a limited time, Reece’s Pieces with Nuts.

For anyone who has ever doubted the power of product placement, Reese’s Pieces certainly prove otherwise. For without the Hollywood endorsement, not to mention the delighted face of a beloved creature from another world, they might have come and gone rather quickly, like a shooting star traversing the evening sky.

Were you a fan of Reese’s Pieces back in the day? Did it have anything to do with the fact that E.T. preferred them? We’d love to hear your recollections in our comments section below.

One Response to “Reese’s Pieces”

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  1. There is a persistent urban myth that the producers of E.T. contacted Mars foods to use their famous M&Ms as bait for the alien, but they didn’t want to be associated with such an ugly creature. They passed, Reeses gladly agreed and the rest is cinematic history. Can you confirm the veracity of this story?

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