Snickers: You’re not frugal when you’re hungry

Few things grab consumers’ attention like humour, and Snickers seems to have nailed it again. Riding on the back of its wildly successful “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign launched in 2010, Snickers and ad agency BDDO New York have launched a new banner ad: “Get one for the price of two!” If you’re not sure why that’s funny, you might need a Snickers.

2007 to 2009 were a hard few years for Snickers, with the company lagging behind other global chocolate brands in both relative and absolute terms. The firm was still growing, but losing market share rapidly; according to projections at the time, Snickers was on a trajectory to losing the top spot as the world’s leading chocolate bar.

Something had to be done, and the three laws of growth as thought up by the Byron Sharp and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science provided some guidance:

  1.    Memories are fragile, and consumers are on the verge of forgetting about your brand at all times;
  2.    Brands are substitutable, and consumers will always choose from a range of brands to meet their needs; and
  3.    Penetration is king, growth only comes from attracting more buyers to your brand.

Chocolate is an especially difficult market to tame: reliant on impulse purchasing, consumers are presented with anything from ten to 100 options at any given time. To be the product that people reach for, you need to be distinctive- and familiar. Snickers needed a campaign with broad-based appeal.

“Fame is not simply about generating brand awareness (which turns out to have limited value for most established brands),” writes Peter Field, author of Marketing in the Era of Accountability, “It is about building word-of-mouth advocacy for the brand – getting it talked about, creating authority for the brand and the sense that it is making most of the running in the category.”

The subsequent “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign certainly got people talking, winning awards at every major creative outlet, including Cannes Lions, The One Show, D&AD, IPA Gold, global and local Effies, AME Awards and the Emmys. In its first full year of showing, Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign increased global sales by close to 16 per cent, and boosted market share in 56 of the 58 markets in which the ad ran.

Skip forward to today, and Snickers’ latest banner takes you to a bestacled life coach when clicked. The turtleneck-touting, cardigan-carrying intervention is a cute touch, not least when he offers the user a much better deal: $1 off when you buy two bars.

There is a lot to be admired about the Snickers “Hungry” campaign, with its staying power making this cheeky one-liner one to remember. If this latest banner initiative is anything to go by, there’s no need for Snickers to reinvent this wheel- yet.

Leave a Reply