Since its debut in 2010, Snickers’ Hungry’ campaign has seen a ninja turn into Mr Bean, a party guest into Joe Pesci, and even The Brady Bunch‘s Marcia into Danny Trejo. In the first year alone, sales of the chocolate bar went up 15% in 56 of the 58 territories in which the campaign was released.
And just a few weeks ago, the brand took it to the next level.
It was just a normal October afternoon, and viewers of UKTV-owned comedy channel Dave were enjoying some Man Vs. Food. Then the clock hit 3:28pm (the hungriest time of the day, according to Snickers) and everything changed.
Dave suddenly transformed into Rupert: a pompous network that hosted what would undoubtedly be considered the most boring lineup on television.
Not only was Man Vs. Food cut off and replaced by a European art film, but the network’s social media channels and digital advertising in local shopping centres changed to reflect the new focus. When viewers called up, confused, they reached a receptionist who asked “Hello, Rupert. How may I help you?”
At the end of each segment – which also included an art appreciation show and a chess tournament – the channel cut to colour bars and a Snickers bar, under which appeared the classic headline “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry”.
This was later followed by a letter of apology that went out both on air and in the newspaper. In it, Dave management apologised for the inappropriate programming, and revealed that they had stocked on Snickers bars so that Rupert could never return.
It’s a brilliant piece of multi-modal marketing. Whether Dave had a significant audience at 3:28 in the afternoon is essentially made irrelevant when you consider the response such an innovative and daring ad the team at Snickers created.
As the advertising world continues to change – often for the worse – it’s exciting to watch companies take risks and do something special. Other agencies: take note.