Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Iconic Brand Power Proved: Snicker's Snacklish Campaign

Over the past few weeks I've been seeing billboards and buses in the Detroit-area that seem to be all about jibberish: "Get some bling with Master P-Nut," "Pledge Sigma Nougat," "Nougetaboutit." Realizing these ads were for Snickers (based on the logo and brown background), I did a Google search and discovered Snickers' new "Snickers Speak" campaign from TBWA\Chiat\Day New York. Snickers is putting on a full-court press to encourage people to learn "Snacklish."

This isn't the first time Snickers has tried to get people to speak its "language." Similar ads were launched in 2006 using words like hungerectomy, peanutopolis, and nougatocity (Arnold Zwicky has a nice list of words and definitions from the 2006 campaign here). Back then, it got people talking, but not everyone was sold on the new words. For example, two commenters on Ad Freak said that "Hungerectomy" reminded them of rectom and hysterectomy rather than the intended meaning of removing hunger. Although it isn't certain Snacklish will actually work its way into conversations with friends (NWT reported "Executives at Mars and TBWA/Chiat/Day New York say the Snickers language will resonate with 'young adults who are texting each other...making up their own words, their own shorthand.'"), what this campaign proves to me is the power of Snickers' brand.
How many other brands would get away with only using a single word on a billboard and have people tie it back to the correct product? These ads prove Snickers is an iconic brand, a brand according to WPP that is "...instantly recognizable...with such powerful visual cues (it) has an intrinsic advantage over others, not least beacuse it ensures that marketing communication is linked to the right brand...Our analysis found that brands considered iconic enjoyed far higher top-of-mind awareness...(suggesting) that iconic brands are strongly associated with their specific categories."
So what are the take-aways from this campaign? First, these ads serve as a reminder to those of us with newer brands to be specific in our advertising and to be smart about what visual cues we link to our products. For example, if Dove were a new entry into the soap market, just showing the word "Clean" inside the outline of our logo probably won't make much sense to the consumer...yet. Second, for those of us working with the brand powerhouses, it reminds us to be sure we don't lose sight of what makes our brand an icon. Would a McDonald's commercial be the same without seeing golden arches? Would Energizer batteries be the same without the bunny?

If you want to see more Snickers' Snacklish ads, Ad Land has a several posted to their
website. Or you can visit Snickers' website to learn more about the campaign.

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