First Snickers Work From TBWA\C\D Looks Inside

Satisfaction is a recurring theme in Snickers’ advertising, all the way back to Bates, its agency in the early 1990s. In that sense, TBWA\Chiat\Day’s first work for the brand feels familiar, but this time the ads focus on the ingredients; in short, what makes Snickers satisfying.

The campaign, which breaks today, includes two TV spots, a viral component and, for the first time, a heavy outdoor presence that plays off the brand’s iconography. It also introduces a new tagline, “Most satisfying,” replacing the short-lived, “Hungry? Grab a Snickers.” In addition, the effort represents a reunion for TBWA\C\D New York executive creative director Gerry Graf, who helped craft memorable spots for the brand at BBDO between 1996 and 1998, including “Chefs” and “Gheorghe Muresan Cologne.”

The new spots feature a troubadour with an acoustic guitar who, with a straight face, sings a ballad about nougat, caramel, chocolate and peanuts—the main ingredients in Snickers. One spot is set in an actual carpet factory and shows the singer, dressed like a typical boss in a blazer, approaching a worker eating a Snickers at his desk. “Can I help you enjoy that Snickers?” the boss asks, before launching into song. The other spot places the singer against a backdrop of giant, syrupy images of the product.

“We liked this guy because he did the song so seriously,” said group creative director Ian Reichenthal. The approach was both “simply dead-on strategy” and “just kind of ridiculous,” added Graf. The character also will be used in the viral effort, which will enable consumers to e-mail “The Snickers Song” with a personalized greeting. The client also plans to use the Web as a conduit for devotees to create their own messages. One possibility: a contest inviting consumers to write their own Snickers songs.

TBWA\C\D landed the estimated $40 million creative account in March after a three-way pitch against Masterfoods USA roster shop Nitro and then-incumbent BBDO. (BBDO had handled the brand since 1995, when it shifted from Bates.) The New York office of TBWA\C\D also handles Masterfoods’ Skittles, Starburst and Combos. Reichenthal, a writer, and Scott Vitrone, an art director and group creative director, work on all the brands.

For the outdoor ads, Vitrone, Reichenthal and Graf made up funny words that incorporate brand messages, such as “nougatocity,” “peanutopolis” and “hungerectomy.” The words will appear on billboards, cab tops and bus sides in the brand’s familiar blue typeface against a white background with red trim. “It gives the brand an icon feeling,” said Graf. The Omnicom Group agency also produced a cross section of the candy bar that will appear on billboards, albeit in the oblique shape of the bar. The ads break next month in seven cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas.

BBDO’s last work for Snickers depicted thirtysomethings in different settings (i.e., an office, a forest) who used the candy bar in inappropriate ways, such as to try to put out a fire, hunt deer or cover a bald spot. The message: “It’s only satisfying if you eat it.” The new approach returns to the idea of “Packed with peanuts. Snickers really satisfies,” a tagline used by Bates, said Vic Walia, senior marketing manager for Snickers at Masterfoods, in Hackettstown, N.J. “The brand moved from ‘hunger’ to ‘satisfaction’ because satisfaction is more broad,” Walia added.