Enhancing and Uplifting an Iconic National Brand.

Ethel M Chocolates

Since its inception in 1981, Ethel M Chocolates has been crafting premium-specialty chocolates using timeless recipes that date back more than 100 years. With an established existence in the local community and loyal customer base, Braintrust embarked on a goal to elevate the Ethel M brand, expand its reach, and increase sales.

With an integrated marketing campaign that encompassed fresh brand guidelines, a comprehensive and expansive public relations plan, developing an engaging content strategy on social media, targeted digital marketing, designing well-researched packaging and creative, and implementing an effective advertising plan.


  • Brand Strategy
  • Creative Design
  • Seasonal Campaigns
  • Public Relations
  • Social Media
  • Package Design
Woman unwrapping a chocolate bar

Brand Strategy

Seeking to expand its audience yet still maintaining its core and loyal customers, Braintrust worked with Ethel M Chocolates to craft an updated brand strategy that reflected the company’s three core pillars: Fresh, Family, and its hometown Las Vegas origins.

Spring mailer design
Spring catalogue front & back cover
Spring catalogue interior spread

Seasonal Campaigns

To drive sales during Ethel M’s peak periods, Braintrust developed campaigns centered on the Christmas Holidays, Easter, Mother’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. The campaigns include a direct order catalog, advertising campaign, and social media content strategy.

Holiday catalogue cover
Holiday catalogue chocolate spread
Holiday catalogue lifestyle spread

From beginning to end, Braintrust collaborated with Ethel M to concept, art direct, and create a seamless and high-quality catalog, in-store collateral, digital graphics, and print ads that support the seasonal brand strategies.

Valentine's Day packaging inserts
Valentine's Day packaging design
Holiday tin design
Holiday packaging shaped like tree ornaments
Holiday design for chocolate boxes



Braintrust also worked with Ethel M to reimagine and redesign package design for both year-round and seasonal packaging. Researched and tested, the final designs were simple yet would stand out on any shelf. The revamped product packaging shared the Ethel M story and evolved to both capture and express the essence of various holidays.

A celebration of sweetness

Social Media


When evaluating the brand’s social media strategy, Braintrust saw an opportunity to evolve with engaging content and PR integration. With that in mind, Braintrust has successfully increased YOY engagements per content across all social platforms.


Tactics included enticing contests, influencer strategy, special event content, animation, and viral video creation. Braintrust continually adhered to key brand pillars and messages. In addition, we leveraged Ethel M’s place as official chocolate of the Vegas Golden Knights new NHL franchise to generate additional excitement for the Ethel M brand during the team’s thrilling inaugural season.

A Golden Giveaway. Ad for hockey content promotion.
A Golden Giveaway. Alternate design for hockey content promotion.

Public Relations

Instrumental in evolving the brand, Braintrust implemented a successful public relations strategy; one that integrated with the over-arching brand strategy, expanded pitching efforts to regional and national media, incorporated social influencers, and executed non-traditional PR activations.

During the first two quarters, Braintrust made a huge impact with more that $1 million in publicity value.

Valentine’s Day—2019

Braintrust successfully built, launched, and optimized Valentine’s Day campaigns with a goal to increase new customer acquisition, build the top funnel database, and continue to convert current bottom funnel prospects. With these goals in mind, Braintrust launched omni-channel, cross-device campaigns including video display, static display, paid social, native, and PPC.

Digital efforts resulted in the following:

  • Display spend increased by 23% while our database acquisition for the same period increased 100% and revenue increased 30%.
  • Social total reach increased by 53%. Our reach to the 25-44 demographic increased by 612%.
  • Clicks in the same demographic increased by 335%.
  • Total revenue increased by 75% and ROAS increased by 124%.
  • PPC spend increased by 15% while our total revenue increased by 48% and ROAS increased by 66%.


As part of its Valentine’s Day campaign, we had the goal of increasing engagement on social media, reaching millennials, and positioning the brand as one that simply shared “sweetness” through its product, Braintrust created #ActsOfSweetness with a chocolate-dispensing “ATM” machine.

Placed at a prominent location, the public could press a button to receive a notecard encouraging them to do a sweet task, such as giving someone a hug, saying “I Love You,” or giving a kiss on the cheek. As they reacted, cameras captured the “act of sweetness” and in the end, the results were edited and shared via social media.

Social impressions jumped and views of the video reached more than 600,000+.

USA Today

Great Holiday Chocolate Flavors To Gift

In Nevada, Ethel M Chocolates makes a Peppermint Silk White Chocolate for the holidays.

Travel Weekly

Tasty Changes at Ethel M Chocolates

Renovations at the Ethel M Chocolates factory store in Henderson, Nev., have added a tasting room and a demonstration area.

Just in time for this year’s holiday cacti lighting, which illuminates 300 species of desert plants with more than 500,000 lights, Ethel M unveiled a fully redesigned retail space and guest experience in October.

Travel & Leisure

31 Free Things To Do In Las Vegas

Eat Chocolate—so Much Chocolate

Local chocolatier Ethel M sits right in one of the largest botanical cactus gardens in the world, and you can take factory tours (free samples!) after a stroll of the unusual gardens.

Glendale storefront
Grand opening flyer design
Now Open Buy One Get One ad
Now Open Buy One Get One ad

Glendale Store Opening


Ethel M opened a stand-alone store in Glendale, California and we were able to help make the launch a rousing success. Supporting the new store with strong public relations, social media buzz, direct mail, and in-store collateral.

Easter egg shaped chocolate box for spring
Easter egg package designs
Spring chocolate box packaging
Chocolate boxes lined up on a store shelf
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