Snickers ‘Hunger Bars’ Tasteless?

As part of their ongoing campaign to show the side effects of hunger in a humorous light, Snickers launched a new campaign highlighting some negative personality traits that result from an empty stomach. They’re calling out these traits in an obvious way by putting them right on the packaging. As both Tim Nudd’s Adweek article and PR Daily’s Kevin Allen note, the campaign is notably similar to Coke’s successful “Share a Coke” campaign.

But how do the two directly compare?

Watching the paid advertisement, Snickers’ strategy definitely goes for the humorous angle in its messaging. Coke, on the other hand, took a more sentimental approach.

I think Snickers’ take on this idea fits well within its company’s overall campaign messaging, since it typically takes a lighthearted approach.

However, I think there is a notable flaw in the way Snickers executes the idea of “sharing” the product with someone else as the focal point of a campaign: a generic adjective feels far less personal than someone’s name.

I am definitely someone who gets cranky when I’m hungry. However, if a friend handed me a Snickers printed with the word “cranky” on the wrapper in order to tell me so, I would probably be a little annoyed — with my friend and Snickers. I also would not really want to buy myself a Snickers that calls me cranky.

On the other hand, getting a Coke can with my name on it feels special. It feels personal. I feel connected to it, therefore I feel connected to the brand. Plus, as soon as I found a Coke with my name on it, I purchased it immediately.

Overall, the Snickers campaign doesn’t make me want to share, receive or buy the product, which is what it the campaign was initially designed to do. With that key element missing, the campaign falls short — of both its intended goals and as compared to Coke.

How do you think this Snickers campaign compares to similar ones? Does the message behind the Snickers campaign inspire you to connect with the brand?

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9 Responses to Snickers ‘Hunger Bars’ Tasteless?

  1. Samantha Bero says:

    Lauren, I enjoyed reading your post. This is a great example of a company attempting to reach consumers using a humorous approach. The problem with using humor is not everyone shares the same sense of humor. I find the campaign hilarious. If a friend gave me a Snickers with the word “cranky” I would find it hilarious because I get really cranky when I’m hungry. But some people wouldn’t find that funny. When companies use humor as a campaign approach they need to know ahead of time that not everyone will understand their humor. In saying, before a company launches a campaign that may offend their consumers, they need to weigh the pros and cons and ask themselves if the majority of their consumers find it funny. A major company cannot please every consumer so as long as the majority understands the company, I believe they’re doing a good job.

  2. Alex Sorrell says:

    I agree that the Snickers campaign is directly copying Coke’s “Share a Coke Campaign,” but I think Snickers campaign might work despite the tone because the candy bar has a much more specific audience. Coke is a mass brand that has to appeal to a lot of people, that’s why they ultimately sell “happiness” not soda. Snickers can get away with some snark because it’s been building that into its brand for a while.

    Snickers seems to be targeting a very male audience with its messaging. The candy bar has also been trying to reposition itself more as a filling snack that saves you rather than a sweet treat. I think that this extension of the campaign is on-brand and I’d personally would think it would be funny to get one of those Snickers bars.

  3. Catherine Hahne says:

    I can see the similarities between the Coke campaign with this campaign. Although, I see the Snickers campaign fixing the big issue with the Coke campaign: finding your name. How many times have we grabbed a Coke with the name “Larry” or “Sara” and the name is either spelled wrong or isn’t our name at all.

    I see identifying your hunger attitude as the perfect idea of a campaign for Snickers. They had the, “You aren’t you when you’re hungry” campaign where they input different actors that are very different than the person int he situation. We all remember the Betty White commercial in the football game.

    This new campaign is a spin off of that campaign with having people think how do you act when your hungry. It is almost them prescribing the Snickers bar for that specific type of hungry.

    The idea of having a call center where you can have a messenger send the right Snickers is a genius idea. I think this campaign will be extremely successful and work in Snickers’ way.

  4. Courtney Bannon says:

    Neither of these campaigns inspired me to connect with the brand- at least not with a purchase. I don’t like Coke, and I don’t like Snickers, so I look at these ad campaigns without any established connection. I would say these campaigns are only effective at re-enforcing the relationships they have with current customers. However, my overall opinion of Snickers improved through this campaign. The humor appealed to me, especially with their use of celebrities that I was familiar with. I still won’t buy a Snickers, though. Coke may have been sentimental, but emotional appeals alone sometimes aren’t enough. I don’t feel any differently about Coke, and I still won’t purchase one.

  5. Alyssa Hillman says:

    I’m so glad you blogged about this! I’ve been waiting for someone to agree with about this whole “hangery” campaign.

    First, I want to applaud that Snickers tried (and almost succeeded) matching Coke’s name on the bottle campaign. Like you said, Coke’s is done better in the sense it’s more personal and gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside like, “Coke made a bottle for me!” However, Snickers made a bar that says “dramatic”- which does not make me feel good inside, but instead self conscious.

    If a friend handed me a candy that said “dramatic” on it, I would probably say something along the lines of, “even if I am being dramatic, please don’t tell me through a Snickers.” To some people it could be funny and lighthearted, but people need to be careful who they are buying these for.

    Also, I definitely bought a Coke bottle that had my name on it and took a picture with it and shared it to my followers- I know for a fact there isn’t a word on a Snickers bar I’d like to be associated with me to my followers, so I will not be posting about this campaign.

    Overall, I think Snickers tried, and even though they didn’t necessarily fail, they didn’t compare to extremely successful Coke’s similar campaign.

  6. Jasmine Safaie says:

    I agree with you that their new campaign doesn’t cause me to feel more connected with the brand. If I got a Snickers that said cranky on it, I would be more than confused since I haven’t even heard about this campaign or strategy. Another good thing Coke did with their campaign was really put it out there; people were familiar with the share a coke with __ concept and really connected to it.

    On the other hand, I think it is easier to connect to a generic adjective than a name because it’s more broad. For instance, if I did get a Snickers that said cranky, I could connect to that more than a coke bottle that says Melissa because I’ve been cranky before, but my name has never been Melissa.

  7. Tyler Otremba says:

    I agree. I also find myself very cranky when I’m hungry and like they say in the commercials, “You’re not you when you’re hungry,” I’m not. However, when I am hungry I do not want to be told that I am cranky. I think handing me a Snickers bar that says cranky would help my hunger, it would still make me cranky. I think Coke’s more serious approach is appropriate. I love humor, but I also like something that is relatable, sentimental, or seems to incite change.

  8. Erin Mondt says:

    Thanks for sharing the Snickers campaign with us! I can totally see where they were going with this campaign, but I totally agree with the previous comments in the fact that it is lacking the “sentimental wow factor.” I think having adjectives such as “grumpy, sleepy, and goofy” are pretty funny and creative, but it doesn’t stay with you. I would buy this candy bar for a friend or family member as a joke, and simply laugh with them in the moment, but then that’s it. However, if I bought them a Coca-Cola bottle with their name on it, of course they would want to take a picture with it, and maybe even save the bottle. That’s the difference: You’re not going to keep a ripped candy wrapper but can keep the”personalized” bottle forever because it made more of a lasting impact.

  9. Natalie Crandall says:

    I understand the comparison of these two major brands and the lack of emotional response to the Snickers campaign. Coca Cola wanted to reach out to its audience in order to make them feel as though Coca Cola was thinking of them personally and creating a love mark on their consumers. With Snickers, I think the campaign was suppose to be taken with a light heartened spirit but many people may take it too personally. In order to understand the Snicker bar with the label “cranky” on it, the consumer would have to have seen the commercial, otherwise, yes, this could come off a little pretentious. Personally though, I believe Snickers’ campaign was a successful one. They are a candy bar company, everything related to them is suppose to be fun and delicious and tasty, unlike Coca Cola who has ties to much more meaningful brands like the Olympics. This is merely a difference of mega brands and the impression and vibe they want to give off to their consumers. Snickers was just going for something more fun and easy going.

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