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Snacks Retail Expertise

How a Pretzel with a Devoted Following Finally Got Its First Ad

The first-ever ad for Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels aims to introduce new consumers to the buttery, savory spindles, while letting devoted fans they’re not alone in their obsessive love for the snack.
Ryan Riess and Mark Chu
Ryan Riess, Vice President Brand Strategy and Creative Development Mark Chu, Senior Director, Marketing & Omnichannel

Key Takeaways:

    • Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels recently launched its first-ever ad.
    • For more than 10 years, the pretzel brand has organically developed a dedicated following of loyalists.
    • The Dot’s ad was designed by Hershey’s in-house agency, C-Sweet Studio, and aims to introduce even more potential pretzel devotees to the savory spindles.  

If you know, you know, when it comes to Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels.

Buttery, crunchy and exploding with flavor, these snack twists have fans who are so devoted they make it their mission to introduce anyone and everyone to their beloved Dot’s by word of mouth and on social media. So when we were recently tasked with creating the first-ever ad for Dot’s to tell those who don’t know about this delicious pretzel, it was an honor.

For more than a decade, Dot’s, which was created by Dorothy "Dot" Henke in her Velva, North Dakota kitchen, grew organically thanks to its devotees. When The Hershey Company acquired Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels in 2021, our goal was to use our wide distribution network, robust supply chain, consumer insights and expertise around brand growth to let consumers who hadn’t yet tried Dot’s—of whom there are many—know what they’re missing. That was on our minds as our salty snacks marketing division began working with our in-house agency, C-Sweet Studio, to build the inaugural ad campaign.

Our first step was to talk to consumers to better understand their outright obsession with Dot’s. After all, pretzels are nothing new - they’re an old-standby. When we think about pretzels, we think of that bowl we fill before a party that rarely has to be refilled. We think about the snack that lots of people eat, but few rave about. But as we listened to Dot’s fans—informally through social media networks and formally through structured conversations—we were blown away. Their words for Dot’s were, without fail, over-the-top, ranging from “these are the best things I’ve ever had,” to “where have you been all my life?” It was never “Yeah, it’s a pretty good pretzel.”

For us, as creatives, those superlative reactions were inspiring, and we knew we needed to feature that obsessive fandom in the ad. But first, we needed to introduce the product. Currently, Dot’s has only about an 8% U.S. household penetration. We believe it can grow to four or five times that amount, but first, we need to show people what distinguishes Dot’s and why they should care. To accomplish this, the first half of the ad—which recently launched on digital and streaming media—zooms in close as the pretzel spindles catapult through seasoning while a clear voice heralds some of Dot’s defining qualities, like its buttery flavor and sensational seasoning.

Then comes the hyperbole, like when a Dot’s lover has an entire truckload of Dot’s delivered to his suburban driveway, and another features an all-pretzel pantry. The message we’re trying to get across is no, you really don’t understand how much you’re going to love Dot’s, and it’s going to make you act in crazy and ridiculous ways. And that’s not a bad thing.

Creating the ads with C-Sweet was a dream because of our shared goal: to inform consumers everywhere that if they haven’t tried Dot’s yet, they’re missing out on something big. I guess you could say that at Hershey, we’re the biggest Dot’s evangelist of all. If you know, you know.

"Perfect Pretzels" Ad Creative Credits

The Hershey Company

Production Team

Director Marketing Strategy & Development Kelsey Webster
Producer Nick Moyer 

Creative Team
VP Brand Strategy & Creative Dev
Ryan Riess
Creative Director Adam Cook
Art Director Amanda Amey
Copywriter Alex Pearson
Director Digital & Content Joan Cahill

Brand Team
VP GM Dot’s & PI AMP Marketing & Sales Strategy
Vero Villasenor
Senior Director Marketing Mark Chu
Senior Brand Manager Joseph Gibilisco
Senior ABM Rachel LeDuc

Production (Live Action)
Spears & Arrows
Tim Kendall
Managing Director & Founder Jason Wolk
Sr. Producer Craig Houchin
Head of Production Justin Cormier
CFO James T. Stern
Line Producer Rocky Bice
1st AD
Chris Northup
Director of Photography Sam Chase
Production Designer Francis Whitebloom
Production Supervisor Elsa Bodkin
Gaffer Lee Spencer
Key Grip Deepak Whitesides
Wardrobe Stylist Shelley Caudill
Make-Up Allyson Joyner
Casting Director Michael Sanford
Sales Mary Eiff, Michelle Stuart, Mackenzie Bergin (Hello Tomorrow)
VTR Rich Millard
Script Supervisor Becky Boyle
Location Manager Casey Sullivan
Gang Boss Noah Ford
2nd AD John Cano
Asst. Production Supervisor Alex Elliot

Production (Table Top)
MacGuffin Films
Director/Director of Photography Kevan Bean
Executive Producer Gloria Colangelo
Line Producer Peter Dever
Production Supervisor Christine Cassar

Editor Dave Koza
Assistant Editor Cassi Waciega
Post Producer Dylan Anderson
Executive Producer Gina Pagano
Sound Designer Sam Shaffer


Senior Colorist Lez Rudge
Color Producer Lucy Gatanis
Color Assistant Adam Raickovich

Warm & Fuzzy

Creative Director John Bashyam
Head of Production Chris Grey
VFX Producer Krissy Engelson 
VFX Lead Elliott Fan
Compositor Anika Morris 

VO Casting
Broadcasters LLC
Stacy Seidel Tea and Lisa Fischoff