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Responsible or not? “Get Some Nuts” with Snickers

By July 21, 2008 4 Comments

As the best selling candy bar of all time with annual sales of over $2 billion, Snickers has nothing to prove.

The Mars family introduced the brand in 1929 or 1930, depending upon which source you believe. Either way, Snickers is pushing 80—but you’d never know it by its advertising.

To reach their target audience of young men, Snickers has pushed the boundaries of taste over the last few years. The following ad created quite a hubbub:

Wikipedia describes the controversy well:

On February 4, 2007, during Super Bowl XLI, Snickers commercials aired which resulted in complaints by gay and lesbian groups against the maker of the candy bar, Masterfoods USA of Hackettstown, New Jersey, a division of Mars, Incorporated. The commercial, which had four alternate endings, showed a pair of auto mechanics accidentally touching lips while sharing a Snickers bar. Realizing that they “accidentally kissed”, they, in three of the four versions, “do something manly” (mostly in the form of injury, including tearing out chest hair, striking each other with a very large pipe wrench, and drinking motor oil and windshield washer fluid). In the fourth version, a third mechanic shows up and asks if there is “room for three in this Love Boat”.

The website for the commercials, since taken down, also featured Super Bowl players viewing the commercials and reacting with disgust to the “kiss”. The website said that the commercials would be aired during the upcoming Daytona 500. Complaints were lodged against Masterfoods that the ads were homophobic.

I doubt the ad would have fared well here on The Responsible Marketing Blog, but to Masterfoods’ credit, they didn’t crawl into their chocolate-covered shell.

Who can forget the Snickers Dark Bar Viking:

Sure, he’s trashing someone’s car (not particularly responsible), but it’s impossible to take your eyes off of it, nonetheless.

Now, Snickers has introduced “Get Some Nuts.” Check out the following ads:


View the video on YouTube


View the video on YouTube

The site includes Mr. T ringtones, videos, wallpaper and the code to embed the following widget on most social sites and blogs:

As the leader, Snickers could lay low and play it safe. They deserve credit for not doing that.

Sure, “Get Some Nuts” is sophomoric, and it would be hard to call it message responsible: The homophobic overtone of the speedwalker ad can’t be missed.

But it certainly breaks through, doesn’t it?

Would you consider this campaign responsible or not?

Comment below to weigh in.

. . .

UPDATE

Effective July 24, Mars pulled speedwalker ad.

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Hmm.... says:

    Well, I viewed accidental kiss as making fun of people who have homophobic attitudes, as opposed to making fun of gays and lesbians, the candy bar was just too tempting for the second mechanic to resist, and then both mechanics were confronted with their own emotional baggage, and were ill equipped to deal with it. To be honest, I thought it was funny, but then I think guys with those sort of outdated attitudes should be made fun of…. I can see how the accidental kiss and get some nuts campaigns could be construed as homophobic, maybe these campaigns go a little too far, but I’m not sure whose emotional baggage is at issue here, if it’s the writers, or some of the viewers. I do enjoy the Snickers feast campaign as a whole, not the viking dark commercial especially, but other ads in the feast campaign. Part of the reason I enjoy it is because it is so outrageous and over the top, all these historical characters associated with feasts of various kinds running amok packed into a late model brown sedan looking for the ultimate feast in a Snickers bar. All of these campaigns are broadly drawn, cartoonish, schtick. Good comedy touches a nerve, reveals things we’d rather not recognize sometimes, just ask George Carlin, Richard Pryor, or Mel Brooks, two of em are dead, and they all still piss people off daily…. Of course when you want people to buy your product you don’t want to piss off anybody though, so maybe they just need to fine tune their comedic instincts to find out where the line is while still presenting over the top entertainment…….

  • Snickers says:

    I think it’s political correctness gone crazy. Attitudes like those of people who want to ban such advertising merely succeeds in numbing creativity and nullifying any form of free expression.

    I do agree that there is a time to draw a line, but this is far from it.

  • I must say, I could not agree with you in 100%, but it’s just my IMHO, which indeed could be wrong.
    p.s. You have a very good template for your blog. Where have you got it from?

  • […] the the Snickers kiss ad, this video exploited sexual orientation for shock factor or […]

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