As part of its “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, Snickers has commissioned YouTube stars to demonstrate how they’re not on top of their game when they’re hungry.
The common thread is that all 13 of the featured personalities focus on how-to videos. A popular Egyptian beauty vlogger makes herself up to look like a goth clown, while the U.K.’s Ultimate Handyman uses his nose as a level and builds the most cockeyed wall shelf of all time.
At the end of each video, the Snickers logo appears, reminding viewers that eating something – a chocolate bar with caramel, nougat, and peanuts, say – can often help them be their best selves.
“Vloggers are such dynamic content creators, it’s quite interesting – and funny – to see what happens when hunger strikes and their faculties fail them,” says Allison Miazga-Bedrick, brand director of Snickers, which is owned by Mars. “The international vloggers we tapped for this campaign have more than 7 million subscribers between them globally, which will provide us with broad international reach, including the younger audience that we know YouTube can offer brands.”
Executed by BBDO, the campaign launched simultaneously in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Brazil, the U.K., Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Egypt. The videos have only been up for a few days, but the YouTube comments have been overwhelmingly positive, which speaks to the vloggers’ creativity, says Miazga-Bedrick, who can’t pick a favorite video.
Thom Kennon, chief strategy officer at Pure, a boutique digital agency in New York, particularly liked the video from Egypt. Despite not speaking Arabic, Kennon was able to understand what was happening, even though he wasn’t necessarily supposed to.
“You didn’t need to understand what was happening. Visually, you saw her turn herself into this cartoon,” Kennon says. “But it’s not for everybody to understand. It’s for the people who follow these people. It’s extraordinarily targeted marketing. The audience follows these people; if it’s on-character for them, it’s all the more salient.”
Kennon commends the candy brand for allowing the YouTubers to do their regular thing, as opposed to using them in a stylized commercial. It provides the campaign with a bit more authenticity; he thinks today’s audience is too savvy and cynical to not be turned off by a blatant product placement.
But he thinks the smartest thing about this campaign is the way Snickers engaged with the audiences – a wide audience, given the diversity of the YouTubers’ nationalities and niches – where they live: on social media.
“All of this money brands used to spend on measured media ads is sitting in someone’s pocket right now because the consumer has left the couch,” he adds. “The audience is not sitting around waiting for a new commercial. If a commercial does come on, they’re in the next room or Tivoing through it. But what they are doing is spending hours on YouTube and hours on Facebook. I think it’s brilliant.”
“Anyone with a phone and a Vine account can create content, they can build an audience and they can build it anywhere,” agrees Carter Hostelley, chief executive (CEO) at Leadtail, a social marketing agency. “Snickers is realizing that these folks are real: they have real audiences and they have real influence out there.”
Whether it’s drawing a perfect face or caulking a bathtub, each project featured starts off normally enough. But quickly enough, you realize that the perfect face has a Muppet’s bushy eyebrows and bulbous nose, and that toothpaste is being used as a sealant. In Hostelley’s opinion, that makes you want to keep watching, almost like a horror movie.
“Everything seems normal and all of a sudden, they hit you with that ‘gotcha’ moment,” he says. “You’re like, ‘Holy crap, this is funny,’ and then you’re a little embarrassed that it got you and you want to share it.”