Hershey Foods Corp., Hershey, Pa., is taking advantage of the presidential election to drive home the need to stash retirement savings on a tax-free basis.
Using red, white and blue as theme colors and plenty of election icons and word plays, Hershey started a big communications campaign to improve the 78% participation rate in its $300 million 401(k) plan.
A five-step campaign is encouraging employees to attend a big retirement plan "convention" at the beginning of this month in Hershey plants nationwide.
Using posters, direct mailings, paycheck stuffers, buttons, newsletter notices and old-fashioned, election-style hats, the theme of saving the "tax-free way" is permeating the drive. Posters emblazoned with a "bill of rights" for the employee savings stock investment ownership plan advantages of saving in the 401(k) for retirement.
Hershey is even using life-sized, cardboard cutouts of President Clinton and Republican challenger Bob Dole to carry the message: "If these guys won't give you a tax break, give it to yourself by saving in the ESSIOP."
"Conventions" are being held in as many Hershey plants as possible, said Dan Killi, director of benefits administration. Local benefits staff will answer employee questions with representatives from the vendor, American Express Institutional Services, Minneapolis. A hotline will let eligible employees enroll immediately.
Electronic kiosks will guide participants through asset allocation modeling. Food and raffles will heighten the atmosphere.
"We're very excited about the campaign," said Mr. Killi. "Our goal is to get people to enroll and to then diversify their investments and maximize their deferrals. The communications push is so catchy, we really hope it will push people to save more."