Blog: Snickers targets Internet clickers

Catherine Sleep | 31 May 2006

Using celebrities to appeal to consumers in the food and drinks industry is a common marketing technique.

Michael Jackson went from king of pop to king of soda pop when he endorsed PepsiCo, a company who have also received celebrity backing from the likes of Britney Spears and David Beckham, who, incidentally, did Snickers himself. Justin Timberlake did McDonald’s; basketball superstar Shaq (Shaquille O’Neil) did Nestlé Crunch bars; even The Simpsons have leant their name to Burger King and Butterfinger candy bars. But in their new “Instant Def” promotion Snickers have gone one step further.

In an effort to appeal to the influential teen market, Masterfoods’ Snickers brand has said that it will launch a series of digital films staring Black Eyed Peas frontmen Fergie and will.i.am alongside hip hop musicians Taboo and apl.de.ap.

The series, titled Instant Def, will be aired over the Internet throughout the summer and taps into various pop culture themes at their height with its comic book style, hip hop message and young trendy stars.

The press release describing this marketing ploy is littered with super-modern catch phrases like “webisode” and “digisode”, designed to give the reader the impression that Snickers are boldly forging a whole new entertainment genre.

"We knew we had to go online to reach teens because that's where they spend most of their time," said Vic Walia, Snickers senior marketing manager.

However, Snickers claim to have toned down the brand message to create a credible ‘digi-series’ seems a little tenuous. "We know that teens are very savvy consumers so we made a conscious decision to tone down our branding in an effort to build credibility with the online community. We wanted to communicate the Snickers' brand message in an authentic, credible and contagious way. The Instant Def digi-sodes allow us to do that,” Walia claims.

With the protagonists (Snickers workers by day, defenders of old school hip hop by night) acquiring their super hero powers by coming into direct contact with Snickers at the Snickers factory, one can hardly imagine what the level of branding would have been were it not toned down a notch or two.

While the idea to create a whole series of cartoons and utilise the Internet is certainly innovative, at its core is Masterfoods' attempt to identify the Snickers brand with popular trends and celebrities in the minds of teenage consumers.
 
Walia said: "The choice of will.i.am, Fergie, Taboo and apl.de.ap to be our Instant Def heroes was easy. They share key characteristics not only with today's young influencers, but also the Snickers brand.” Perhaps it is more accurate to say that they share characteristics that Snickers want teens to associate with their brand.

Essentially, Snickers has found a new way of using celebrity to peddle their brand, and this is nothing new.

Katy Humphries, news editor


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