Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Snickers Cashes in on Clarkson Controversy

The controversial television presenter Jeremy Clarkson has once again created a storm within the senior management of the BBC. Last week the popular yet polarising presenter was suspended after a ‘fracas’ with the highly successful show's producer. The alleged incident occurred after a long day spent filming an upcoming episode which has since been put on hold. The angry presenter launched a tirade of abuse at the producer after catering were only able to provide him with a cold meal for his dinner. The news sent shockwaves through the media in the UK as they began speculating if fists where raised as well as tempers. 

In a clever publicity stunt, the Snickers Brand, owned by Mars, Inc, tweeted a picture of a box of its chocolate bars addressed to the BBC Top Gear studios. The tagline for the brand, “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry”, was posted on the box with the following message: "@JeremyClarkson you may want to have some of these on set next time you are #hungry…" As of writing this has been retweeted more than 5,000 times on Twitter and gained exposure in several main stream media outlets.

Source: Twitter

The challenge for Mars was that people simply weren't thinking about buying Snickers when out and about. So they needed to remind people why, and most importantly when, they could enjoy a Snickers bar. Their TV advertising campaigns were centered on the celebrity diva Joan Collins, who is notoriously highly strung. After enjoying a Snickers bar she transforms into a level headed footballer who has cured her hunger cravings. You're not you when you're hungry moments happen when people were in the vicinity of a chocolate bar and needed the instant fix of a Snickers. Over the 12 weeks of the launch campaign, Mars saw an increase of 705,000 units of Snickers bars sold in the UK.  

The narrative of Clarkson’s latest blunder fit perfectly with the provocative branding used by Snickers. They were able to successfully piggy back off the topical story and gain positive publicity with their core audience of followers. Many companies would not have wanted to associate themselves with the presenter who has previously been in hot water after a string of misdemeanours and allegations of racism. In cheeky fashion, Snickers took the initiative and made the most of the free social media marketing. The hilarious tweet was well received by the media and public, although whether or not Jeremy Clarkson saw the funny side of the publicity stunt remains to be seen. 

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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