You've got to hand it to Snickers, they are definitely experimenting with different marketing ideas these days. First that Instant Def thing with the Black Eyed Peas (the third episode is out now, by the way), and now a new outdoor campaign (by their new agency TBWA) that doesn't actually say Snickers anywhere.
It's gone up in the US the last 2 weeks and plays with their logo, ingredients and "hungry" positioning using made-up words like Hungerectomy, Nougatocity, Substantialicious, Satisfectellent and Peanutopolis. And they were brave enough to not put Snickers branding anywhere - to assume that people could figure it out.
We've presented a few campaigns like this over the years and had clients say "put our logo on as well so people don't get confused." Which means having two logos, which looks stupid, but more important it implicitly treats the viewer as stupid. Not spelling out the branding engages the viewer's brain to try to figure it out, like a little puzzle, and they complete the missing piece of the ad. Which I believe makes the ad more interesting, more memorable and more effective. The argument that people won't/don't want to think about advertising is a cop-out. People won't think about bad advertising. They will think about advertising that gives them something to think about.
However, this isn't just a story about some outdoor ads. It's also a story about how quickly marketing campaigns get analysed and criticized and hi-jacked these days. The cycle has become a lot shorter now. The campaign had only been up for a week and people already are spoofing it, as Adfreak reported on Thursday: the folks at Brandspankin have created their own additions to the campaign, which are now spreading around the internet.
and my personal favourite...
Now you could argue that spoofing is great, because that means the campaign is being noticed and gaining some cultural currency. In fact, I wonder if not getting spoofed is actually worse than getting spoofed these days.
But a more serious charge comes from a blogger named Tom Sherman in an excellent post noting that if, say, you did want to find out more about the Snickers ads, they haven't bought the domain names or Google search terms for any of the words in their campaign. So if you saw one of these ads on the side of a bus, and did a search for "Nougatalicious" or "Hungerectomy" you end up on blogs criticizing the campaign. Oooops. It's an ironic oversight since with Instant Def, Snickers has demonstrated some understanding of and commitment to the web. I bet part of it has to do with them changing their agencies right now from BBDO to TBWA.
Now this is a really important point - how often do we think to get a domain name or buy Google search terms around our campaigns or their taglines? For all the holistic, integrated, media-neutral blah blah talk... I'd guess not often. Through our own traffic statistics I've noticed several people showing up at this blog looking for "the fruits of imagination commerical" - as in the tagline for our great, long-running Fruitopia campaign that we borrowed the blog's title from. That campaign currently has no online presence. So people end up here. And to be honest I've worked on the Fruitopia stuff for years, never thought about buying search terms. We're all probably guilty of it.
Is it even responsible for a brand to not have an online presence anymore? Try doing a google search for your brand and see what comes up. We need to get smarter about this. It's kind of embarassing.